A trench art compass, derived from a WW1 Cavalry Sketching board, made by Aston & Mander of Soho, London, c.1914. This compass and its wooden surround have been carefully removed from their original position at the top edge of an Aston & Mander sketching board. Various other designs of Cavalry sketching board were being produced around this time, including those by Lt-Col. Willoughby Verner, J. H. Steward, and Houghton's. The compass is signed by Aston & Mander.
The Cavalry Sketching Board: was originally designed by Colonel W. H. Richards, who taught military surveying at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst c.1880. The board was improved by Willoughby Verner who was also briefly Professor of Topography at Sandhurst. Verner patented his own improvements in 1887 and 1891 and the board became known as Verner's. W. J. Bosworth patented further improvements in 1897, and versions of the board remained in use until around 1930.
Cavalry Sketching Boards were designed to be strapped to the arm of a cavalryman on the bridle arm. The board was attached to the arm by a leather strap with a swivel joint. This enabled the user to twist the whole board on their arm to align the compass accurately. The board incorporated a compass for taking bearings, and the sketch was made on a paper roll which was wound around one of the side rollers. As a sketch was completed, the paper roll was advanced to supply more paper. During WW1 the sketching board was often used by pilots and observers of the Royal Flying Corps to make sketches of enemy positions and trenches.
Aston & Mander Ltd: The company was established in 1779. By 1914 they were wholesale and export suppliers of mathematical drawing, and surveying and scientific instrument manufacturers. They specialised in tailors' squares, every kind of mathematical scales, rules etc., tailors' and cloth merchants' tools; anthropological and height measuring instruments, scholastic geometrical sets and appliances, brewers' and gaugers' instruments. The company employed around 60 people and supplied scientific instruments to British armed forces in both world wars.
The compass is in very good condition and full working order. The wooden surround is in very good condition.
Dimensions : Compass: 30mm diameter (wood surround: 63mm x 45mm)