Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Leesburg  

Sundial 255
State/Province:  Virginia Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Horizontal Condition:  Good
Latitude:   39° 02.467' N Longitude:   77° 37.000' W
Location:
  • Oatlands Plantation, 6 miles south of Leesburg VA on US Route 15
 
Description:
  • A small bronze horizontal dial on an 18 x 18 inch block of marble. Pedestal of Tennessee marble rests on the back of a carved tortoise. The sides of the square block capital are deeply carved with oak leaves and acorns. When the dial was seen in 1998, the dial was not aligned to north.

    Inspection of the dial face shows that it is not designed for the site latitude of 39? but higher in latitude, perhaps even 44?. It is thought the dial might have been purchased by Edith Eustis, wife of William Cocoran Eustis who owned the Oatlands estate for the first part of the 20th century.

    The maker's signature, "fecit," and a crown is spurious, since any legitimate dial maker would use name or initials. The date of 1717 is not convincing as it does not match the design of the dial. And, if purchased by Mrs. Eustis, it is probably not French or Italian, since the compass rose is delineated by the English letters for north, south, east and west.
 
General Information:Inscription:
  • Owner: National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Time passes, memories remain.
  • Designer:
  • Builder:
  • Construction Date: Engraved 1767 or 1717
 
References:
  • NASS Compendium Vol. 6 No. 2, p.2, June 1998

Last Revised: 12/10/2013 10:50