The owner of an old stone sundial on an estate in Fife wanted to know where it belonged. The stone was lying on the ground behind farm buildings and no one could say where it had come from. Was it the correct latitude for the estate, could we study it for them and find out more?
The date 1746 carved on the stone certainly confirmed this sundial was old. Continue reading
It is always interesting to see how people will react to a sundials talk. I usually say they are in the majority if they know nothing at all about this fascinating yet unfamiliar subject. In the 21st century sundials have largely been forgotten, but I try to explain how sundials were once an essential part of the science of timekeeping. Their designs spanned an extraordinary range from purely functional to wildly exuberant sculpture monuments. Today those old traditions of imaginative design are still alive, providing new generations with pleasure and enjoyment from timeless and beautiful sundials.
You can see the slides for my talk here, PROBUS EDINBURGH TALK ON SUNDIALS – Copyright Macmillan Hunter 2017.
For anyone who has ever enjoyed doing geometry at school, getting the angles right on a sundial may not sound so difficult. The sundial has to see the sun and the shadows have to tell the time. When sundial sculptor Tim Chalk was sketching out ideas for his latest work to erect a sundial at Dollar Academy, a leading Scottish school, he thought about the angles Continue reading
In a land renowned for its clocks and watches a Swiss couple have chosen our Orbdial sundial to mark the hours in their historic garden set on a hill above Montreux, overlooking Lac Leman, which they are restoring to former glories. The sundial has a handsome polished pedestal in pink and yellow veined marble from Verona. The couple wanted to see the colours of sunrise and sunset in the sky picked up by the sundial and the stone. In Victorian times this house welcomed figures from music and the arts, including Gertrude Jekyll the influential garden designer. Continue reading
Three weeks now till Christmas when time stands still for excited children opening their presents. Strangely, also on the twenty-fifth of December, clocks and sundials read the same time as each other, because the equation of time is zero. Winter solstice when the sun stands still is a few days earlier. This year it is on the twenty-second of December.
It seems a while since the sunshine was warm Continue reading
After a time the sun did shine when we were setting up our new Dihelion sundial sculpture at the Savill Garden, Surrey. The sun was out just long enough to align the sundial before we left. Dihelion is now fully installed and ready to view as part of the Savill Garden’s annual sculpture exhibition ‘Sculpture in the Garden’ Continue reading
In a break with previous sundials an original new design has been created that has two shadows, one showing the time of day and another the season of the year. This adds more pleasure to having a sundial in a garden. The design has been named DIHELION meaning ‘dual sun’ after the ancient Greek words. The sundial will be launched to the public on 1 September at ‘Sculpture in the Garden’, the annual sculpture exhibition at The Savill Garden, Windsor, Berkshire.
It is thought the concept of DIHELION having two shadows Continue reading
Telling time through the ages
Sundial expert and student of time Kevin Karney gave another of his fascinating talks on telling time through the ages to the audience of NADFAS members at their monthly meeting held in the Victoria Halls, Helensburgh, on Tuesday this week. NADFAS, the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies, is a leading arts charity and this was the second group in the Scotland and Northern Ireland area to have invited Kevin to speak recently Continue reading