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Georgian Pocket Sundial Compass c.1800

Georgian Pocket Sundial Compass c.1800

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A rare Georgian mahogany cased pocket sundial compass, dating from around 1800. It features a finely engraved brass chapter ring with a folding gnomon. The gnomon has a sprung mechanism which allows it to be folded to either side. The chapter ring and gnomon combination are very much in the style of similar instruments made in England from the late 17th century to the early 19th century. This example has an ornate Georgian style paper compass card design, and a distinctive early Georgian crown-pivot blued needle. The compass is in full working order and finds North well. It also has a transit lock, operated by a small pin and lever when the lid is closed.

Sundial compasses had been made in Europe since the late 17th century, with wooden cased types known to have been made since the late 18th century. Further details of the history of pocket sundial compasses can be found at the website, page:


In very good condition, and full working order, with just the normal signs of age and use. The compass points strongly to North. The folding brass gnomon and ring are in very good condition, with some wear to the original lacquered finish of the brass. The wooden case is in very good condition, with a minor crack to the lid near one of the hinges. The original glass  and the paper compass card are in very good condition. The transit lock is working well, locking the needle when the lid is closed. The lid closes well with strong hinges and is secured by twin '7' shaped clasps.

Dimensions: 75mm x 75mm x 23mm