Portable sundial (back)

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made in Paris

Postcard of Portable sundial (back).
© National Museums Scotland

Portable sundial (back)

This silver portable sundial was made in Paris in the early 18th century, probably by Michael Butterfield, an Englishman who worked in Paris from around 1677 to 1724. This photograph shows the back of the instrument.

The back is engraved with a list of places and their latitudes, arranged in four groups to match the four hour scales in the front. 'Edimbourg' is given at 55 degrees 56 minutes in the most northerly group.

Butterfield's workshop appears to have been the most successful in the last quarter of the 17th century in Paris, rivalled only by that of Nicholas Bion which emerged in the 1690s.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-017-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1923.21
Date: Early 18th century
Material: Silver / leather covered wooden case. Inscription: [A list of places with their latitudes]
Dimensions: 2.44" x 2.06"
What: Sundial, portable / case
Subject: 20. TIME MEASUREMENT, Sundials (Departmental Classification)
Who: Butterfield, Paris (Sundial maker)
Where: France, Paris
Description: Silver portable sundial, engraved on the back with a list of places with their latitudes, in a leather covered wooden case, by Butterfield, Paris, early 18th century
  • For Butterfield dials, see Turner, G. L'E. Antique Scientific Instruments. Poole: 1980. pp 21-2 
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