Diptych sundial (detail)

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made in Dieppe, France

Postcard of Diptych sundial (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Diptych sundial (detail)

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.

The sunk compass is surrounded by a horizontal dial. Below the compass needle is a card giving names of French towns and information about them. There is also a magnetic agimuth scale which works together with the revolving disc on the base of the dial.

In the 16th century ivory diptych sundials came from three main centres: Nuremburg and Augsberg in Germany, and Dieppe in France. However, those made in France were rarely signed or dated.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-025-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1924.13
Date: 17th century
Material: Ivory, metal disc. Inscription: [On base] Names of French towns with information concerning them
Dimensions: 2.88" x 2.38"
What: Sundial, universal
Subject: 20. TIME MEASUREMENT, Sundials (Departmental Classification)
France, Dieppe
Description: French universal sundial in ivory, book form, base with sunk compass surrounded by horizontal dial, analemmatic dial, moon dial and equinoctial and polar dials, unsigned, Dieppe, 17th century
  • For a similar example, see Lloyd, Steven A., Ivory Diptych Sundials 1570-1750. London & Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard, 1992. p 128, also pp 116-7 
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