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Polyhedral Dial
Attributed to Nicolaus Kratzer
circa 1525; London
Gilt brass; 100 mm in height

The challenge in designing a polyhedral sundial such as this one is to set a separate dial on each face of the chosen solid, so that as many as are receiving the sun tell the time. In this case the shape is based on an octagon and accommodates nine sundials.

Although the instrument is unsigned, it was probably made by the German mathematician Nicolaus Kratzer, who came to England in about 1518 and was astronomer to Henry VIII. Kratzer became a member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and he read the mathematical lecture founded by Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York. This instrument was made for Wolsey; the four-sided base has Wolsey's arms, the arms of York Minster, and (on two sides) a cardinal's hat.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 54054

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