PRESHUTE . WILTS . ST GEORGE – C18 sundial

St George . Preshute . Wilts

SUNDIAL . ST GEORGE . PRESHUTE

High up on the third stage of the C15 tower is a magnificent C18 sundial. A border of Roman serif numerals from 6am to 4pm frame a complex design of carefully graduated radials that mark the hours and the half hours. The large but slender gnomon casts a long shadow.

St George . Preshute . Wilts – the sundial on the tower

The imbalance in the hour marks – 6 to the left of the noon line, 4 to the right – presumably arises from the orientation of the church and its relation to the angle of the sun (though that’s probably not the correct technical way to express it).

NOTE there is a plausible medieval scratch dial on one buttress (not as yet recorded). It’s status is under consideration by others… If it is deemed a dial I will write it up separately.

GSS Category: Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

‘ UNEXPECTED TIMES’: A SUNDIAL ON THE PONTE VECCHIO

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‘ UNEXPECTED TIMES’: A SUNDIAL ON THE PONTE VECCHIO

This article was written a while back, in the pre-Covid era. Now I have a sundial site up and running, this dial and some others from Florence have a new space.

 

Florence in January.  -8°C at night, zero during the day – but sunny enough in the middle of the day to be able to have coffee or even lunch outside. Apart from the Uffizi, no queues for anywhere. Most significant places on the tourist trail almost to oneself. Despite the cold, there is no frost: the air is so dry that the pavements, piazzas and even the cars are quite clear of frozen white crystals. By the river I caught the electric flash of a male kingfisher flying up from the water to an overhanging bush, his hunting perch. I watched him as he scanned the water below, occasionally diving down and returning to the same branch. Twice, I could see the glint of a tiny fish in his beak. 

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Over the years I don’t know how often I have crossed the Ponte Vecchio – or even simply walked to the mid-point to admire the views up and down river from the open areas between the pricey shops. This time I was walking the length of the Vasari corridor that connects the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the Arno. A section runs straight over the bridge and then passes across the facade of Santa Felicita, into which the Medici family could sneak from the corridor to a large private balcony for spiritual refreshment. Passing the middle of the west side of the bridge, in the ‘tourist photo op’ gap where Cellini’s bust adds to the photogenic view, I have never before looked upwards.

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Here, on the roof of a shop, is an ancient sundial, supported by a white marble pillar. An eroded and almost illegible engraving below the pillar records that in 1333, floods caused the bridge to collapse and that “twelve years later, as pleased the Commune, it was rebuilt with this ornamentation”. The sundial itself, with its columnar divisions reminiscent of a rose window, marks the CANONICAL HOURS. The gnomon’s shadow indicates the hour of the day. If the sundial is the ‘ornamentation’ to which the inscription refers, then it is around 650 years old.

If you look closely, you’ll see, halfway up the south face of the hexagonal column, a lizardsundial-ponte-vecchio-florence-1

Seeing the sundial for the first time ever, yet in such a familiar place was a reminder that Florence is a city that demands great attention as one walks through the streets. Many buildings, even unassuming ones, have fine adornments high up that will catch the eye… but only if you are looking out for them. 

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RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE . WICKLOW . COURTYARD GATEWAY SUNDIAL

Russborough House . Wicklow . Ireland – Courtyard Gateway Sundial

RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE . Co WICKLOW . IRELAND – COURTYARD GATEWAY SUNDIAL

Russborough House . Wicklow . Ireland – Courtyard Gateway Sundial

Russborough House, built mid C18 for Joseph Leeson, is one of Ireland’s finest Georgian houses. Set in a large estate in the Wicklow Mountains, the house is renowned for its outstanding art collections (see http://www.russborough.ie/art).

The pleasing and straightforwardly solid gateway to the Courtyard has a most interesting angled sundial with no part of it in an expected place. One consequence of its position is that the graduations are notably complex. The main photo in the gallery below shows this far better than I can explain it.

It is clearly not an old dial. I have seen one photograph that suggests that at some time it has been painted blue. I need to investigate further and will add the details if I can find a date for the dial.

GSS Category: Modern Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

BUCKLAND NEWTON – HOLY ROOD

Church of the Holy Rood . Buckland Newton . Dorset

DEDICATION † CHURCH OF THE HOLY ROOD – from C13, mainly C15

LISTING † Grade 1

LOCATION † Buckland Newton, Dorset 50.8461 / -2.4449 /  ST687052

A peaceful village just north of the source of the River Piddle, lying discreetly in a valley amidst hills and downland. Roland Grant pronounced it “a lovely church”, adding that his first impression was unfavourable because the exterior had been rendered in cement, “giving the Perpendicular square tower the look of a Foreign Legion fort”. Notwithstanding, it has a terrific self-dating sundial (1704)

DIAL † High up at the centre of the embattled parapet above the substantial porch, an impressively angled dial. The perforated gnomon casts its date 1704 onto the face of the dial. I was lucky to visit in bright winter afternoon sunshine to catch the effect (Im.2). Incised initials IH & EC. 4 crosses around the dial edge.

Church of the Holy Rood . Buckland Newton . Dorset † Sundial
Church of the Holy Rood . Buckland Newton . Dorset † Gnomon & date
Church of the Holy Rood . Buckland Newton . Dorset † Sundial
Church of the Holy Rood . Buckland Newton . Dorset † South Porch, Sundial, Cement

GSS Category – Old Dial