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Diptych Dial
Dated 1573; French
Ebony and ivory; 53 x 35 mm

The oval dial is plain on each outer face, has wire hinges and metal fittings and clasp. The inner face of the cover is painted with symmetrical gold grotesca decoration of leaves with animal and bird heads around a central silver human face. Above is a table of latitudes 43, 45 and 48 each with an attachment hole for the string-gnomon, and below an escutcheon containing the date. The whole is executed on a scarlet ground within a circumferential green leaf border. The lower leaf, which makes up the body of the instrument has a central inset compass (needle missing) with four wind directions indicated by the initials of their Latin names. Surrounding the compass are three hour scales of ivory one for each of the three different latitudes. The divisions are in black the Roman numerals in red and each division is divided by a dot to thirty minutes. Surrounding this is a gold border. The remaining free space is filled with formal leaf decoration in gold.

This dial is typical of the type produced by the Paris Tabletiers in the later 16th and early 17th centuries.

Anthony J. Turner

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 2489

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