What is it?
This beautiful sundial is one of the world’s most remarkable, particularly well known for its intricate design and detail.
The sundial tells not only the hour of the day, but also the month, the zodiac sign, the time of sunrise and the hours of daylight. The curved, green lines mark the summer solstice, and the equinoxes. A table underneath provides the moon’s hour-angle for each day of the lunar cycle, enabling the dial to be used as a moon-dial.
What’s the story?
The first sundial in Queens’ College’s Old Court was erected between May-July 1642, when entries in the College accounts include payments of five shillings for ’ye painter for diall, and 18 shillings for ’ye cock of ye diall’.
Although financial records exist, the College has no evidence as to who designed the sundial.
In The History of the University of Cambridge, 1753, Carter records:
The Sundial, on the North side of the principal Court, and under the Clock-Dial, is counted a Curiosity, being beautifully ornamented with a variety of useful Furniture, the whole being the work of the great Sir Isaac Newton.