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circa 1600 ?; Italian
Iron and gold; 95 mm in radius

The quadrant is inlaid with gold and silver, but is badly damaged. One side has a scale of degrees, divided by one with alternate shading, numbered by five. Further to the apex is a zodiac scale, divided to ten degrees by alternate shading, with the symbols of the zodiac signs. A shadow square is also inlaid, marked 'VMBRA VERSA', 'VMBRA MEDIA' (the marking for 'VMBRA RECTA' has been damaged), divided to one by alternate shading and numbered from 3 to 13 by three. Hour lines were inlaid but are not legible at present. The space between the edge and the first hour line is decorated with foliage in gold and silver.

The other side of the quadrant is engraved on the limb with a similar scale of degrees, divided to one by alternate shading, and numbered from ten to 90 by ten. Italian hour lines are inlaid and numbered from 10 to 24, and a zodiac scale is on the right hand side, with the symbols of the zodiacal signs and divided by ten degrees by alternate shading. The right hand side of the zodiac scale is inscribed 'ELEVATIO POLI XLII GR<ADUUM>'. The space between the inscription and the right edge is filled with foliage, as is the space between the hour lines and the apex.

On all three edges are three double perforations.

The instrument was purchased in 1893, and was formerly in the Spitzer Collection. It is described in F. A. B. Ward, A Catalogue of European Scientific Instruments in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities of the British Museum (London, 1981), p. 57, no.150.

Ilaria Meliconi

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1893, 6-16.6

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