- Museum number
This very small, gilt brass and ivory diptych dial is decorated all over with cherubs, female and male figures, fruit, leaves and geometric patterns. All the engravings and inscriptions are filled with black colour. The dial has a close fitting brass container with a hinged lid.
The OUTER surface of the UPPER LEAF contains a VOLVELLE for the conversion of common hours into Babylonian hours according to the length of day. It consists of a movable gilt brass disc with an index with the common hours numbered 4 to 12 to 8. This corresponds to a scale with the Babylonian hours on the surrounding circle, numbered 1 to 16. The index points to a scale of the length of day in hours numbered 8 to 16. Depending on the hour chosen the other two scales show the corresponding common and Babylonian hours.
The INNER surface of the upper leaf contains a vertical string gnomon dial with the hours numbered anticlockwise 6 to 12 to 6. In the centre is a shield with the arms of the Holzschuher family of Nuremberg.
The INNER surface of the LOWER LEAF contains a horizontal string gnomon dial (the hours numbered 5 to 12 to 7) with an inset COMPASS. The compass is bridged by a brass bar with a pivoted index in the form of a hand.
The OUTER surface of the lower leaf is engraved with a depiction of the Adoration of the Shepherds.
Near the HINGES on the lower leaf are two initials and a maker’s mark, a crown, which allow this instrument to be attributed to a specific maker.
- Production date
Height: 8 millimetres
Length: 40 millimetres
Width: 30 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This unusually small diptych dial is very likely to have been made by Paul Reinmann, the most prominent ivory compass maker in Nuremberg, whose earliest and latest instruments are recorded between 1575 and 1608 respectively.
The engraved shield with coat of arms on the inner surface of the upper leaf allows the Holzschuher family of Nuremberg to be identified as its first owners.
- Not on display
Latest: 3 (Nov 2016)
5 (Nov 2016) Verdigris around compass well
5 (Nov 1995) Verdigris around compass well white deposit on glass
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number