nass_news_2011_dec_1396_quadrant1What’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.

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