Photos Courtesy of Oatlands Historic House and Garden
Sitting peacefully in the garden of the Oatlands Historic House and Garden near Leesburg VA, is a beautiful, but sadly in need of repair sundial. Each year the Virginia Association of Museums, comprising over 500 museums and historical sites within the state, receives nominations for conservation of Endangered Artifacts.
The Oatlands sundial is nominated to be considered for one of the Top 10 List of Endangered Artifacts for 2013. You can vote your concern for this sundial and donate to its restoration at:
Oatlands was an ante-bellum estate purchased as a “country home” by Edith and William Corcoran Eustis in 1903. Edith collected artifacts from all over the world, including the sundial. An early picture showed Edith standing in the garden with the sundial on its unmistakable pillar of pink marble balanced atop a large marble tortoise. See NASS sundial #255 (Virginia / Leesburg). Unfortunately the dial is misaligned and the top marble plinth has come loose from the pillar. The dial face and gnomon need restoration as well.
Lori Kimball, Director of Programming and Education, provided NASS with detailed photos of the sundial showing the marks “FECIT” (Made by) with a symbol of a crown and the date 1717. Analysis of the gnomon angle and dial face hour lines shows that the dial was designed for N 41 deg 54 min, the latitude of Rome. This is consistent with Edith Eustis antique collecting from Italy and France. But who made the sundial and is the date its true provenance?
Oatlands is raising funds to conduct a conservation assessment along with the sundial’s restoration. Kimball said she hoped the public would support Oatlands by voting to raise the visibility of the conservation work needed for the sundial. Voting is open until the end of August. The Virginia Association of Museums does not provide financial support - public donations such as yours are needed. The final Top 10 will be then selected by a panel of conservators and collections care professionals and announced mid-September.