Stock No.

Exhibit No.24


The carved stone base, in the style of Daniel Marot (1661-1752), with an octagonal moulded edge top, inset for the large circular dial, above four volute carved supports with acanthus terminals flanking scallop shells and foliage. The volutes resting on a further octagonal moulded base, leading down to a substantial square foot.


The sundial signed Henricus Wynne Londini Fecit and constructed for latitude 52° 24’ N. Bearing the Arms and motto of the Cornwallis family. The bronze gnomon is floral border engraved and fixed to the 27 inch circular cast-bronze dial plate by hidden rivets. The dial plate is engraved with various scales and tables, the primary hour-scale (by the inclined gnomon shadow) in the outer ring being graduated in one-minute intervals, within which there are inner rings calibrated to indicate direction in terms of azimuth or bearing. The planispheric projection (by the vertical gnomon shadow) is also engraved with an inner and outer hour-scale, graduated with hour-angle divisions (meridians) and parallels of declination to the limits of 23½ degrees north or south of the celestial equator or equinoctial line. Two engraved arcs, representing the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun, extend from the points where the 6 o’clock meridians or hourcircles cut the equinoctial and graze the north/south extremities of the projection at the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The signs of the zodiac are inscribed at their respective intervals along these two arcs. At the east/west extremities there are date-scales, for months and days, to determine the date from an observation. Conversely, the date being known, the sundial may be readily orientated and aligned in the meridian, without recourse to the more usual and protracted methods involved in setting up an ordinary horizontal dial. Other scales engraved on the dial include a semi-circular lunar hour-scale (situated within the arc of the inner hourscale of the planispheric projection), by which the time may be deduced from an observation of the moon, and two sets of altitude scales, for use with a pair of compasses or dividers. The names of certain fixed stars are inscribed within the boundaries of these scales, together with the values of their respective hour-angles or angular distances measured eastwards of the so-called first point of Aries, the vernal equinox. On the planispheric projection this is the point, at the eastern extremity of the grid system, on the date-scale in March, at which the ecliptic and equinoctial intersect. By knowing the angular distance of the sun from this point, for a given date, the time of night may be deduced from the position of one or more of these stars. Two calendrical tables are also engraved on the dial plate on either side of the Cornwallis coat-of-Arms.


Probably originally ordered from Wynne by the 3rd Baron Cornwallis of Eye (1655-1698) for Brome Hall in Suffolk, perhaps to go with the turret clock ordered from Tompion (see previous exhibit no.23, inventory no.112);
Summers Place Auctions, 21 October 2014, lot 12, sold for £26,000;
John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.159


Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, illustrated p.346


Sundial 27 inches (686 mm) diameter, plinth 51 inches (1295 mm) high