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Diptych sundial (detail)

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made in Dieppe, France

Diptych sundial (detail)
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Diptych sundials have two plates hinged together, and in use open out to form a right angle, with the string hinge operating as a gnomon. This ivory example was made in the 17th century in Dieppe in France. The photograph shows the inside of the base.

There is a sunk compass with a list of 22 places and latitudes on paper and a horizontal sundial around the compass. These are mostly French, although London at 51 degrees and Madrid at 40 degrees are among those abroad.

By placing exotic locations on the latitude list, the compass maker encouraged the purchaser to believe that he could travel as far as North Africa (Alger) or even the East (Goa). It was a skilful marketing ploy.

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