Sundials - inv. 4277
This is the best-known sundial in the collection of the more than two hundred items gathered by Piero Portaluppi and also one of the most important because of its antiquity, the refinement of its materials and the importance of the client who commissioned it. The famous French mathematician Oronce Fine, who was also the author of a literary work on solar clocks, made it in 1524. It was intended for the court: it bears the emblems of King Francis I (a salamander and the three lilies of France). This instrument was a portable sundial: when the ship was correctly orientated towards the sun, a plumb line with a bead falling from the mast cast its shadow on the dial. On the hull are engraved the hours and two zodiacal scales, while the signs of the constellations appear along the mast. This is hinged between the two panels forming the hull so it can be inclined depending on the seasons. The name of this sundial comes from its form, which resembles a sailing ship used in Venice.