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    Sale 2796

    The P.C. Spaans Collection of Important European Clocks

    19 December 2007, Amsterdam

  • Lot 413

    A SOUTH GERMAN GILT-BRASS DIPTYCH SUNDIAL

    ULRICH SCHNIEP, MUNICH. DATED 1584

    Price Realised  

    A SOUTH GERMAN GILT-BRASS DIPTYCH SUNDIAL
    ULRICH SCHNIEP, MUNICH. DATED 1584
    The case engraved with interlaced strapwork and foliage, the hinged lid with a suspension ring to the front which also serves as a lock, the outer face of the lid inscribed with the names of thirty-four cities and towns and their latitudes Tabula latitudinis Regionum, the inner face with a volvelle for converting equal and Italian hours given the time of sunset in equal hours, the fixed scale of hours graduated from 1-12 (twice) and divided into quarters, surrounding a rotating copper disc (probably originally silvered) graduated with the scale of Italian hours from 1 to 24 and divided into quarters, the disc inscribed with the instruction HABETVR HORA ITALICA SI 24 PONAS SVPER HORAM the centre engraved with an eight-pointed star, the four cardinal directions inscribed around the edges SEPTENTRINO/ORIENS/MERIDIES/OCCIDENS, the top of the lid inscribed with the monogram VS and dated 1584, the underside inscribed VIATORIVM (the contemporary name for this type of instrument), the main case with an engraved string-gnomon dial (string lacking), the folding gnomon support sprung perpendicular to the dial plate, the support engraved with stylized dolphins, the plummet above a latitude scale calibrated from 42 to 52 degrees, the hour plate calibrated from 3 to 12 and 1 to 9 and with engraved lines for the half hours, surrounding an inset compass of 2.1 cm. diameter with a silvered bowl and blued steel pointer, beneath the dial plate a rotating silvered ring inscribed GRADUS DECLINAC: MAGNETIS calibrated from 50-90 and 10-40 to set it for variation
    1.5 cm. high x 4.1 cm. wide x 6.4 cm. deep


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    A similar diptych sundial is in the the collection of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, inventory no.40748 and two related examples by the same maker are in the collection of the British Museum, London, registration nos. MLA 1844, 7-30.1 and MLA 1871, 11-15.11

    Ulrich Schniep was born in Wiesensteig (near Ulm) and was active from 1545 onwards. His craftsmanship was sought out by wealthy clients such as Duke Albrecht and Emperor Maximilian II. As early as 1551, Emperor Charles V granted Schniep the privilege of a coat of arms featuring a polyhedral sundial and the motto 'Asteranimos und Kundtpassmacher'. In 1554 Schniep moved to Munich where he trained other makers such as his son Alexius Schniep and Markus Purmann.
    Approximately fifty instruments (mainly sundials and gunners' instruments) by Schniep are known, the earliest dating from 1553 and the latest to 1588, the year of his death.

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