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Diptych Dial
circa 1600; French
Ebony, ivory and brass; 67 x 75 x 15 mm

This very fine ebony dial has the outer sides of both leaves blank, but the inner sides are painted in gold with arabesques.

The inner side of the upper leaf has a vertical string gnomon dial with hours marked I to XII, twice, enclosing a pierced lunar volvelle with common hours marked 4 to 12 to 8.

On the inner side of the lower leaf is a compass with painted card and eight wind names, enclosed in a horizontal string gnomon dial for Italian hours numbered from 10 to 24 and common hours numbered from V to XII to VII with the indication of the latitude '45'. In the spandrel spaces are golden arabesques and on the border of the leaf is a string gnomon dial with common hours numbered from IIII to XII to VIII with the indication of the latitude '48'.

The outer side of the lower leaf has punched the maker's mark, and initials 'A V [?]' surmounted by a coronet.

See P. Gouk, The Ivory Sundials of Nuremberg 1500-1700 (Cambridge, 1988)

Ilaria Meliconi

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 73140

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