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 18th century, probably by Jean Chapotot. This photograph shows the back of the instrument.

The back is engraved with 20 towns and their latitudes, mostly in France, but also London 51 degrees, Vienna 49 degrees, Rome 42 degrees and Madrid 41 degrees. The underside of the compass box is engraved with a floral pattern.

This type of sundial was aimed at the wealthy connoisseur, who could dream about the travels he might make on the Continent with an instrument suitable to his status.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-044-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1964.47
Date: 18th century
Material: Silver. Inscription: [Names of twenty towns and their latitudes on back]
Dimensions: 2.25" L overall
What: Sundial, portable
Subject: 20. TIME MEASUREMENT, Sundials (Departmental Classification)
Who: Chapotot, Paris (Maker)
Where: France, Paris
Description: Portable sundial of silver, Butterfield type with an adjustable bird gnomon, by Jean Chapotot, Paris, 18th century
  • For Butterfield dials, see Turner, G. L'E. Antique Scientific Instruments. Poole: 1980. pp 21-2 
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