Probably Italian gimbaled compassin original case, mid-18th Century. Made of substantial brass 21cm overall, it has a decoratively shaped support arm, mounting hole, and twin gimbal rings maintaining the compass always in the horizontal. The compass itself is set in a weighted brass bowl and features brass scribed with north line, fine arrow-shaped needle with glass hub, and central brass needle lifter activated by thumbscrew below. Condition is very fine thourhout, complete with its splendid carved wood fitted case with hinged lid. The case follows the shape of the compass, fits wonderfully in the hand, and sits stably on its two flat base areas. Although the fully gimbaled design suggest nautical use, it perhaps was made for surveying in mountainous terrain or in mines. The Whipple Collection in Cambridge also have one in their collection. Measurements case 22,5 x 9,5 x 5 cm.
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Van Leest Antiques
Van Leest Antiques, based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, specialises in antique scientific and medical instruments. Their collection covers mainly scientific and medical antique instruments: barometers, globes and planataria, nautical instruments, anatomical models, and pharmacy items. Toon Van Leest travels regularly in Europe and visits trade fairs, auctions, and antique dealers to collect stock and to find pieces to fulfil his clients' unusual requests.
As well as being an avid antique collector and dealer, Toon Van Leest is also a dentist. He believes that antiques are a stable investment, not reliant on trends or fashion, and have truly lasting value. Above all, he says, antiques are timeless and never lose their beauty.