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Antique Associates at West Townsend

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A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker
Date/Period: 1619


A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, entire view

Measurement: Height: 4.25"; width: 8.75"; depth: 8.75"

Material: Brass, gorgeous plumb brown patina

Condition: Fine

Additional Information: The octagonal plate is fitted with a scroll decorated angled
gnomon set at 51 degrees, centered with a thirty-two point compass rose featuring
stylized sunburst and billowing cloud engraved decoration to segments and annotated
NE, SE, SW and NE within the inner track; the middle track engraved N, E, S, and W
and inscribed Iohn [John] Robins. The narrower outer track with Roman numeral
chapters IIII-XII-VIII divided into quarter-hours and eighths, with asterisk half-hour
markers and engraved Anno Christi *1619* between IIII and VIII…the angles with line
engraved border panels and pierced for attachment. The engraved detail, octagonal
shape and profile of the gnomon [original] closely conforms to features of three related
sundials by William Bowyer, Richard Hinton, and Isaac Symmes illustrated and
discussed in Not A Bad Timekeeper: The English Lantern Clock In The Seventeenth
Century
by George White (Antiquarian Horology, Vol. 3, September 2009, pp. 624-628).

The engraving of the Robins sundial is so close, nearly identical to the Hinton and
Symmes dials that it is likely that these dials were engraved by the same hand. The
narrow chapter ring, with its half-hour markers, also closely conforms to those of
Bowyer and Hinton dials and can be compared to the chapter rings applied to the
earliest English domestic clocks such as Francis Nowe’s chamber clock of 1588 and the
earliest “first period” lantern clocks made in the Harvey workshops prior to 1620. The
striking similarities of the Robins dial and the Hinton, Bowyer and Symmes dials
suggests a high probability that they were all made for the same purpose in neighboring
workshops. As George White suggests…these examples were made by clockmakers to
be supplied with lantern clocks…so it is reasonable that the Robbins sundial was likely
made for the same purpose (to establish True Time for regulating timepieces). The date
of the Robins dial being 1619 clearly assigns the sundial to an extremely rare and
important small group by makers producing the earliest lantern clocks of which very few
are extant.


The engraved name Iohn [John] Robins was obviously engraved by a different hand
than the maker of the dial, also indicated by the style of script with its hatched stems
and the positioning of the name on the dial. The style of font, in particular the “s” of
Robins suggests that the name Robins was added very soon after the dial was made
and is probably the name of the original owner. Records indicate that a John Robins
bought a farmhouse known as “Boddenhams” from the manor of Upton Street,
Leonards, near Gloucestershire in 1619! This location is certainly close enough to the
latitude of 51 degrees North to give reasonably accurate readings.

$15,450.00

843-445


A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, entire view 2

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, entire view 3

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, entire view 4

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, detail view 1

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, detail view 2

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, detail view 3

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, detail view 4

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, back view

A Rare Sundial Inscribed John Robins, Dated 1619, Made by Early Clockmaker, back detail



Sundial, 17th C., Maker Signed, John Knapp, Reading, England
Date/Period: 1678


Sundial, 17th C., Maker Signed, John Knapp, Reading, England, entire view

Measurement: Height: 3"; width: 6.75"; depth: 6.75"

Material: Brass, plumb-brown patina

Condition: Fine

Additional Information: Owners of clocks and watches used sundials to keep their
timepieces accurate; they set them at noon according to the shadow cast on the
gnomon…noon referred to as True Time was the only moment at which to determine
solar time. These uncommon surviving 17th century sundials were fabricated by
scientific instrument makers and clockmakers. This example dated 1684 was made by a
known clockmaker, John Knapp. We sold a traveling size lantern clock by this maker
who was active 1690 to 1730 in 2021.

$4,950.00

843-446


Sundial, 17th C., Maker Signed, John Knapp, Reading, England, entire view 2

Sundial, 17th C., Maker Signed, John Knapp, Reading, England, detail view

Sundial, 17th C., Maker Signed, John Knapp, Reading, England, bottom view

Sundial, 17th C., Maker Signed, John Knapp, Reading, England, bottom detail



Sundial, Finely Engraved, Signed: Tho [Thomas] Heath (1698-1773), London
Date/Period: 1720-1750 (Maker was active 1721 to the 1760s)


Antique Slide Lid Document Box with Lock & Key, Original Red Paint New England, entire view

Measurement: Height: 7.75" diameter: 11.75"

Material: Brass

Condition: Very good, as expected…weatherworn displaying dark surface with
verdigris

Additional Information: This is a very sophisticated and complex sundial made by
esteemed scientific instrument maker Thomas Heath (1698-1773), who worked in
London from 1721 until the late 1760 s. It is finely engraved allover.

The sundial allows the viewer to calculate the difference between the apparent and
the mean solar time, allowing him to accurately set his watch or clock. If you were
wealthy enough to own a domestic clock you needed a sundial to establish time allowing
you to set the clock.

This dial shows the Equation of Time (Natural Days). which describes the discrepancy
between two kinds of solar time. The word equation is used in the medieval sense of
"reconcile a difference". The two times that differ are the apparent solar time, which
directly tracks the diurnal motion of the Sun, and mean solar time, which tracks a
theoretical mean Sun ( as shown by a clock) with uniform motion along the celestial
equator. Apparent solar time can be obtained by measurement of the current position
(hour angle) of the Sun, as indicated (with limited accuracy) by a sundial. Mean solar
time, for the same place, would be the time indicated by a steady clock set so that over
the year its differences from apparent solar time would have a mean of zero.

$4,600.00

843-444


Antique Slide Lid Document Box with Lock & Key, Original Red Paint New England, entire view 2

Antique Slide Lid Document Box with Lock & Key, Original Red Paint New England, entire view 3

Antique Slide Lid Document Box with Lock & Key, Original Red Paint New England, entire view 4

Antique Slide Lid Document Box with Lock & Key, Original Red Paint New England, detail view 1

Antique Slide Lid Document Box with Lock & Key, Original Red Paint New England, detail view 2

Antique Slide Lid Document Box with Lock & Key, Original Red Paint New England, back view




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If you are interested in buying any of these items, please call (978) 597-8084 or email David Hillier at drh@aaawt.com

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