1700 GBP ($2000 USD) + postage

An important, complex sundial made by Lord Colvill(e) of Culross, Scotland for George Kinnard, 7th Baron c.1787


13 x 8 inches ( 32.5 x 20 cm.)




Lord Colvill(e) of Culross

Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Calculating, Garden Sundials, Other Technology Antiques


This 13 inch octagonal, bronze sundial with laurel gnomen is so complex it deserves museum recognition. Dual signatures (one by maker, the other for esteemed friend), family crest with motto (Kinnaird), dated 1787 with fine engraving for months, days, hours, minutes and seconds. 

The ornate 8 inch gnomen (set for Perth?, Scotland-56.1 degrees N) surmounts an eight point compass rose-inner decorated with bay laurel, N with ostrich plume. The inner time ring set for days of the month, minutes and seconds (in three layers), the outer in Roman numerals (IIII-XII, I-VIII) for morning and afternoon/evening and further divided in layers of divisions for each hour in 10 minute time blocks (like a Gunter rule). The engraving is of the finest quality.

It plainly states that the sundial was “Made by Lord Colvill” and dated 1787. I could find no reference to the fact that Charles John Colvill(e), First Viscount of Culross-elected to the House of Lords, was capable of such an engine divided feat.

His friend and colleague was apparently George Kinnaird, 7th Baron and the family crest matches (the motto was changed when he was appointed to Government, from “Patitur Qui Vincit” to “Certa Cruce Salus” but the mullet with crescent (Baron), laurel wreaths held by supporters with crossed legs, etc., all match exactly (see photos from texts). 

George Kinnaird (1754-1805) became a peer in 1787 (same year as the sundial) and was an art collector (Baron Rossie) and Parliamentarian  (1787-1790). His collection of Regeant Orleans was sold to the National Gallery.

The sundial is in fine overall condition with no edge bruises. The motto and crest have been rubbed in the past to try to highlight it but it has since attained a nice green verdegris/patination. The back of the dial shows how the gnomen was pinned to the plate. A most complex dial for the true connoisseur of dials and/or Scottish history (heraldry).


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CA ScientificaOpticae

Scientifica Opticae

Mark Hacking (Scientifica Opticae Inc.) has been an avid collector/dealer for over 30 years. A former Science teacher, he has an innate love for anything natural or mechanical. Specializing in optical (microscopes, telescopes), surveying, medical, weighing and drawing instruments, he is an active participant of the Scientific Instrument Fair in London. Living in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and two children; Mark looks forward to meeting as many fellow collectors as possible, and has a worldwide following on eBay (Sciopti).

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