Old and Historic Sundials
Important sundials that mark historic events in dialing or in the cultures where they were formed
What’s worth more than £150,000? An hour horary quadrant dating to 1396 with the personal seal of Richard II. It is up for auction at Bonham. The quadrant, owned by Christopher Becker in Australia, spent the last twenty years in a bag of pipe fittings. An ancestor of Becker apparently came across the quadrant 150 years ago somewhere in Northern England before its final resting spot in Australia.
This quadrant divides the day into 24 equal hours. With a plumb-line attached to one of its corners, pointing the quadrant towards the sun allows the time to be read at the intersection of the plumb line and one of the engraved scales. On its reverse, the quadrant shows a badge depicting a stag lying down wearing a coronet around its throat, symbols associated with Richard II.
The oldest European astrolabe dated 1326 is credited to being used by Chaucer (1342-1400) and resides in the British Museum.
A sundial that was originally purchased by the 1910 class of Springfield (Ohio) High School and which adorned the original high school grounds for decades was recently refurbished and rededicated at the new Springfield High School.
Even though the dial adorned the school grounds for much of the 20th century, it eventually found its way into storage, where it remained until it was recently uncovered.
[photo credit: Christie's ]
A rare stone, polyhedral sundial discovered in England, and thought to date from the Scottish renaissance, sold April 7, 2011 for £16,250 ($26,500) at Christie's South Kensington, London.
The sundial discovered in 1974, and thought to date from the Scottish renaissance, went on the auction block this April as part of Christie's Travel, Science and Natural History sale in London. The dial is made of stone and technically described as a polyhedral dial, with several independent sundials arranged on different facets of the stone. Pre-auction estimates placed a value somewhere between £7000 and £10,000 ($11,400 and $16,300) but sold for nearly three times the initial estimate.