The British Sundial Society

Promoting the Art and Science of Gnomonics since 1989

With the 2016 Conference of the Society well under way at Liverpool, members of the Society constructed an analemmatic dial using one of Sir Anthony Gormley’s life-size sculptures on Crosby beech. Accurately laid out to tell the time year round, sadly the sun didn’t shine and the tide ensure it has a limited life!

UPDATE DEC 2016

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Stegenga

This horizontal sundial in the southern hemisphere is by James A. Stegenga.  It is located on the plaza in front of the jury room beside the City Courthouse in Marataízes which is about two degrees north of the Tropic of Capricorn and about 300 miles north-east of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The dial plate is in the shape of Brazil and the design incorporates 13 green nail heads marking the locations of 13 cities in Brazil.  It was constructed over the period April to November 2015.

Frank King writes “You will, off course, instantly appreciate why I am sending Leap-Year-Day Greetings today, 24 February.”

Readers who need their memories refreshed are referred to the following extract from Frank’s article entitled “Mind the Gap…” in the December 2011 Bulletin.

When is Leap-Year Day?

Sometime after the Paternoster Square noon mark was completed, I received an unexpected e-mail suggesting that 29 February was the wrong date to choose for the thin strip and that the correct date of the intercalary day is 24 February. To quote from the message:

As far as I know nobody, at least in this country, has formally moved it from day 55 in the year (starting January 1st). In any case, who would have authority to do so?

This message could not be lightly dismissed. It was from John Chambers, former Head of the UK Time Service at the National Physical Laboratory, whose responsibilities included overseeing the broadcast of the Greenwich Time Signal. Some explanation is necessary!

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2. DIHELION SUNDIAL IN MORNING SUNSHINE AFTER 8AM by ALASTAIR HUNTER

In a break with previous ideas Alastair Hunter has created an original new sundial that has two shadows, one showing the time of day and another the season of the year. This can add more pleasure to having a sundial in a garden. The design was created in 2015 and has been named DIHELION meaning ‘dual sun’ after ancient Greek words. The sundial was shown to the public at ‘Sculpture in the Garden’, the annual sculpture exhibition at The Savill Garden, Egham, Surrey, which ran from 1 September to 31 October.

In sundial terms, DIHELION is the combination in a single piece of a horizontal dial and an altitude dial. The horizontal dial shows the hours. The altitude dial shows the passage of the year’s four seasons by measuring the solstice and equinox declinations. Each dial plate carries a gnomon that casts a shadow onto the other dial. The horizontal plate carries a gnomon for the altitude dial. The vertical plate carries a polar gnomon for the horizontal dial.

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H&W assembled

This reproduction (NOT a ‘replica’ which would include antique patination and the blemishes of age) began life in 2010 at a NASS Conference when an original plate made by Heath & Wing of London was shown to me with a request for a full-size copy re-delineated for its new home on Prince Edward Island in Canada.  Lots of photographic studies were made, many including a mm rule for total accuracy.  Over several weeks the artwork for the dial was created ‘from scratch’ by hand using Adobe illustrator.  In particular, selected lettering from the engraving was traced at high magnification and sent to ‘Your Fonts’ who returned a TrueType font file to allow me to ‘key-in’ the inscriptions in authentic lettering.  Every other artwork aspect is the direct product of my own hand frpm many hours of ‘mousing’.

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