AN EARLY 17TH-CENTURY NUREMBERG GILT, GILT-BRASS AND ENGRAVED IVORY TRIPTYCH SUNDIAL OF BOOK-FORM
with maker's mark and signed 'TD' (Thomas Tucher), undated but before 1645
Face Ia, upper leaf, outer face: wind vane in red with scale 1-32 (east=32), aperture at north, with eight directions labelled in German gothic script and double-headed gilt-brass indicator, green, orange and black engraving with vegetation and foliate motifs, black foliate-decorated border, with four gilt-brass spandrels each with engraved foliate decoration and incorporating one large and two small bun feet.
Face Ib, upper leaf, inner face: two vertical pin gnomon dials, one labelled 'DAG LENGi' (length of the day) in German gothic script, the vertical lines labelled 8-16 and showing symbols for the houses of the Zodiac in black; the other labelled 'WELSCH VR' (foreign hours) and calibrated 14-24 in red, central circular motif with string gnomon holes labelled for 42, 48 and 54, two strings in place for 42 and 48, the maker's mark for Thomas Tucher in the form of a snake and the initials 'TD' at the centre bottom, green and gilt foliate decoration, a stag and a hart in red each with gilt collar, gilt foliate-decorated border.
Face IIa, inner leaf, upper face: horizontal dial with three circular hour scales labelled '4-12-8' in red (inner), III-XII-VII' in black (middle) and '4-12-8' in red (outer) marked for latitudes 42, 48 and 54 respectively, at the centre a compass bowl marked with directions S, OR, M and OC with a fleur-de-lys indicating magnetic declination at 2 east of north (arrow missing, glass loose), two scaphe dials, one labelled 'PEHMISCHE VHR' and 'P 51 G', calibrated 9-23 for Italian hours, the other labelled 'NIRENPERBER VHR' and 'P 49 G', calibrated 1-15 for Babylonian hours, both with red and gilt sun-face motif, with green and gilt foliate decoration and two large red and gilt floral motifs, gilt foliate-decorated border, hand-numbered 719/[?]8 in red near the edge, the outer surface of the inner leaf with continuous green and red foliate motif, the 'spine' hand-numbered '926' in dark red in a different hand.
Face IIb, inner leaf, lower face: horizontal dial labelled 'VERGERLEIGVNG GROS VNT KLAN VHR' (comparison of large and small hours) numbered '4 - 12 - 8' with central gilt-brass revolving disc (stiff) labelled 'GROS VHR' and numbered 8-24, cutaway section revealing the words 'TAG LENG (length of day) in red and numbers 8-16 in black, the compass bowl showing directions S, OR, M AND OC, with blued-iron needle with brass cap, green and gilt foliate decoration with red and gilt floral motifs, gilt foliate-decorated border.
Face IIIa, lower leaf, inner face: circular vertical dial with red and gilt sin-face and string gnomon in the centre, labelled 'VI - XII - VI' in Gothic script with lines and dots to show half- and quarter-hours respectively, surrounded by green and gilt foliate decoration, two stylised jugs with handles in red, each with two green and gilt flowers, gilt foliate-decorated border.
Face IIIb, lower leaf, outer face: standard German lunar volvelle in brown, with stamped gilt-brass rotating disc with pointer and bun foot at centre, labelled 'NACHT VHR' (night clock) and numbered 1-12 twice, the surrounding scales labelled 1-12 twice (inner) and 1-29 (outer), Gregorian and Julian epacts beginning with 17 and 7 respectively (for the year 1621 or 1640) tabulated around the volvelle and labelled 'EPAGTA GREGTA' and 'EPAGTA JULIANA' (names reversed in relation to the tables), with green, orange and black decorative engraving showing floral and foliate motifs, black foliate-decorated border, with four gilt-brass spandrels each with engraved foliate decoration and incorporating one large and two small bun feet.
The triptych is held shut by means of four brass hooks on the outer edge of the inner leaf, with hooks on the inner faces of the upper and lower leaves; either outer leaf can be held open by means of a brass hook near the edge of the outer face and a brass eye fixed to the 'spine' of the inner leaf.
4.5/8 x 3.3/8 x 1 in. (11.8 x 8.5 x 2.5 cm.)