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Sundial with compass

Sundial with compass

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1680-1699 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 69, The Whiteley Galleries, case 21

The geographical latitudes of 30 towns, mostly French, are engraved on he back of this sundial. With the inbuilt compass, they helped the traveller to position the sundial, so that he or she could more accurately discover the time of day. This type of dial was invented by the English instrument maker Michael Butterfield, who was working in Paris about 1700. A German travellers' guide of the time recommended the use of sundials over clocks, because the chiming of clocks might attract thieves.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1680-1699 (made)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Signed ‘Butterfield Paris’

Labels and date

Silver Gallery:
On the back are engraved the geographical latitudes of 30 towns, mostly French. They helped the traveller calibrate the sundial. This type of sundial was invented by the English instrument maker Michael Butterfield working in Paris around 1700. A contemporary German travellers' guide recommended the use of sundials, as the chiming of other clocks might attract thieves. [26/11/2002]


Metalwork; Personal accessories; Tools & Equipment


Metalwork Collection

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