Diptych sundial (closed)

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made in Dieppe, France

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

Diptych sundial (closed)

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 lid.

The outside of the lid has a circular equinoctial dial and a central polar dial within it. The pin gnomon in the centre is missing.

Polar dials are rare on German diptych dials, but relatively common on French examples. Like the equinoctial dial, the polar dial can be used at any latitude if the angle is correctly adjusted.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-028-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 23-4 
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