Lot 44: Signed Ivory Sundial by Conrad Karner, early 17th Century
December 7, 2012
Berlin, GermanyLive Auction
Ivory, Brass fittings
Nuremberg, Germany, early 17th Century
Signed "Conrad Karner" on the inside
Conrad Karner II (1571 - 1632) - son of a famous Nuremberg compass maker dynasty
European sundial with a foldable compass
With wind rose and scale on the lid
With latitude curves and table with latitudes and dates
Italian and Babylonian time designations
Dimensions: l 8.5 x w 5 x h 1 cm
Good, age-related condition
This folding ivory sundial from the early 17th Century lay undiscovered in a display cabinet for many years, like a secret treasure. The charming and very unusual piece displays two special features: a small compass which is combined with the so-called "European" sundial and a large number of the most diverse scales. Aesthetes with a love for detail will be completely in their element and can read out latitude curves, Italian and Babylonian times, a table of latitudes, seasons and much more from this scientific instrument. The lid is decorated with a compass dial with the 16 points of the compass and a scale of 1 to 32, a figurative pointer in the shape of a hand and a peephole for the compass, the inside of which is inscribed in Italian.This unusual piece has already led the way on many journeys: the owner inherited the diptych ivory pocket sundial from his grandfather who was stationed as the royal Saxon chief inspector of the Post in Plauen, Saxony. He, in turn, obtained it around the turn of the 19th Century from the relative of a captain in Gdansk.
Artistically, the sundial is a work of Conrad Karner II (1571 - 1632), by whom various exhibits can be seen in the Oxford Museum of Science and at Harvard University. Karner's family manufactured scientific instruments in Nuremberg from the 16th Century onwards.
For its age, the sundial is in good condition with visible traces of age and use (age cracks, discoloration). The sundial is near complete, only parts of the hinges are missing. It has a beautiful patina that gives a warm colour to it. The sundial is inscribed "CONRAD KARNER". The dimensions of the sundial are length 8.5 x width 5 x height 1 cm.