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pillar dial

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1888,1201.282

  • Description

    This brass pillar dial has the form of a Corinthian column on a square moulded base, surmounted by a terrestrial globe.
    The square BASE is inscribed on its four sides 'D • G • ET PET • BELPIL • R • F •INTEGERR• IVVENI • QVEM • SINGVL • CONTIN • ET • VITAE • MORV [•] CASTIMON • CONIVGAL • MOLEST • ET • CAET • HOMIN • SORTI EXEMIT COLVMN • HANC • AMOR • ET • BENEV • MONIM CONCOR STABILIMENT ~ KAL • LAN • RELIG STRENAR • DIE ~ I MAVROY ~ COGNAT • CHARIS ~ ORANS VT ~ PER MVLTA ~ SECVL • QVOTAN - ID • FACERE • DII PERMITTANT - DONAV DEDIC - AN • S MD XCIII'.
    The COLUMN, which plugs into the base with a bayonet fitting, has a fluted lower portion, with the hour lines engraved on its upper portion. A horizontal calendar scale is engraved with the initials of the names of the months. Each month is divided into three parts, with the equinoxes at (about) the 20th March and 20th September. Above the calendar scale are engraved the hour lines from V to XII to VII. To their right is engraved a latitude scale; below them are engraved the symbols of the zodiacal signs, in vertical zones corresponding to the months.
    A GNOMON is fixed to the detachable capital, which is finely wrought in Corinthian style. On top of it is a TERRESTRIAL GLOBE which can be lifted to reveal a small COMPASS and string gnomon DIAL. The hour lines are engraved around the compass, from 5 to 12 to 7, with dots at the half hours. On the terrestrial globe are engraved the equator and tropic lines; the Tropic of Capricorn (only) and the equator are labelled: 'TROPICO DI CAPRICORNO' and 'EQVINOCTIALE'. One main latitude (West of Africa) is engraved 'LATITVDO', and 'LONGITV{do}' is engraved on the equator line. Initials are used to indicate some of the places on the globe, although some names ('MARE OCEANO', 'MER DEL CHINA') can be read fully.
    The instrument appears to have been re-gilded in recent times.

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  • Date

    • 1593 (dated in inscription 'MD XCIII')
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 190 millimetres
    • Diameter: 33 millimetres (sphere)
    • Width: 31 millimetres (square)
    • Depth: 31 millimetres (square)
  • Curator's comments

    Sundials in the form of pillars are not uncommon, but this example, in the form of a Corinthian column surmounted by a terrestrial globe, is more unusual.
    The parts of the column can be detached and the globe lifted to reveal a small string gnomon dial with hour lines around a compass.
    The instrument is not signed but the base of the column is inscribed on four sides.
    [I. Meliconi, EPACT 1998, http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/epact/catalogue.php?ENumber=72108]

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  • Bibliography

    • Ward 1981 154 bibliographic details
    • EPACT 1998 http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/epact/catalogue.php?ENumber=72108 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1888

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1888,1201.282

Pillar dial with terrestrial sphere; gilt brass; in form of Corinthian column surmounted by terrestrial globe which can be removed to reveal small horizontal compass dial with string gnomon and hinged arm; dispenser in base; inscription on side of base.

Pillar dial with terrestrial sphere; gilt brass; in form of Corinthian column surmounted by terrestrial globe which can be removed to reveal small horizontal compass dial with string gnomon and hinged arm; dispenser in base; inscription on side of base.

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Object reference number: MCC3484

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