An 18th century horizontal garden sundial

A beautiful 18th century horizontal garden sundial

A historic horizontal bronze garden sundial, 1723

A fine 18th century horizontal sundial stands in the gardens of the House of Dun near Montrose. The dial is octagonal made in bronze set in a carved and moulded stone raised on a baluster pedestal and stone step. Elegant tracery scroll work supports the gnomon.

The dial engraving is detailed employing delicacy of variation in deep and light incisions and ornament. The chapter ring carries exact time divisions down to a single minute. Continue reading

Looking for a place for our armillary sundial

Looking for a place for our armillary sundial

The armillary sundial captures the dynamics of the earth spinning on its axis and orbiting the sun. The equatorial band is pierced with markers for the hours. A meridian band shows the seasons.

Now that we have moved, we have been looking for a place for our armillary sundial. Before, it was nestling gently in its surroundings with plants in the garden growing up through the rings and wrapping themselves around. For the moment it is out in the open where  we can see it better. It has an air of almost floating on its stand with the lightness of the rings and the delicate shadows on the ground. Continue reading

Wall sundial at Royal Square in St Helier, Jersey

Wall sundial at St Helier, Jersey

Wall sundial in Royal Square at St Helier, Jersey, Latitude 49.1839° N, Longitude 2.1057° W. The inscription reads: REGULATE YOUR CLOCKS BY THE SUN DIAL. CORRECTION MUST BE MADE FOR THE EQUATION OF TIME WHICH IS GIVEN IN ALL THE ALMANACKS.

This beautiful sundial is set into the wall of the old Picket House in Royal Square, St Helier, Jersey. Historical records show it was made by a talented Jerseyman called Elias Le Gros in the 1820s. In spite of being plastered over at one time by the military authorities and then restored again in 1875 after a public outcry over the dial’s obliteration, it is now in excellent condition, as our photo shows. Our host for lunch that day told us: “The dial is much admired but of course it isn’t accurate.” Poor old Elias Le Gros, now was the time to rescue his reputation! Continue reading

Skein of geese art installation at RSPB Loch Lomond

Skein of geese art installation at RSPB Loch Lomond

Skein Dial, Hannah Imlach, 2023. Art installation and sundial at RSPB Loch Lomond, with the artwork constructed in Corten steel in the foreground and the towering mass of Ben Lomond in the distance. This is a remarkable piece that captures the ephemeral impression of geese in flight and shows the dates when they migrate by a sundial shadow. Photo: Hannah Imlach

In November 2022 visual artist Hannah Imlach approached us to talk about an art installation she had in mind for the RSPB Nature Reserve at Loch Lomond. The reserve is a prime site where Greenland White-fronted geese come and overwinter. Hannah’s concept for her artwork was a visual image of skeins of geese flying in the sky combined with a sundial showing the times when the geese arrive and leave. White-fronted geese migrate from Greenland in the autumn and return there in the springtime to breed. Continue reading

Our new address and a sundial in the garden

New address and sundial in the garden

A sundial already standing in the garden at our new address for Macmillan Hunter Sundials

Macmillan Hunter Sundials has been in business for twelve years. Until March this year we were at 3 Peel Terrace in Edinburgh, and now we have moved. Our new address is only a mile away at 37 Alnwickhill Road. This property has excellent accommodation and ample working space. When we first came, we did not expect to find a sundial already standing in the garden, and this was a pleasant surprise. On inspection it even proves to have been installed on the correct north-south line to read the time.

A first sight of the sundial at Lews Castle

A first sight of the Lews Castle sundial

A first sight of the Lews Castle sundial at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. This was a restoration we completed in 2020.

The sundial at Lews Castle, which overlooks Stornoway harbour on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, is a restoration of a piece of nineteenth century garden furniture. The cast iron pedestal was once the base of a water fountain that stood in the castle grounds. In 2019 work started on a major Castle Grounds Regeneration Project, which included the pedestal. This ornate piece would be restored as a sundial. The Stornoway Trust had a special wish to see a timeline history of the Lews estate written on the dial. Continue reading

The Sandford Fleming sundial memorial nears completion

The Sandford Fleming sundial memorial nears completion

The Sandford Fleming sundial memorial nears completion now the paving is laid. The memorial is on Kirkcaldy waterfront at the end of the High Street.

The Sandford Fleming sundial memorial nears its final phase of completion. The bonded resin paving surface has now been laid. Its creamy colour sets off the brown Corten weathering steel of the sundial extremely well, and it frames the oval shape, which represents Sandford Fleming’s main idea of a system of time that embraces the whole of the world. The sundial is furnished with brief text panels for explanation, and a new information board is on its way.

Sundial memorial to Sir Sandford Fleming in Kirkcaldy

Sundial memorial to Sir Sandford Fleming

This is the analemmatic type of sundial that lies flat on the ground and the person casts the shadow to show the time.

The coastal trading and industrial town of Kirkcaldy in Fife, Scotland, was famous up to the 1960s for its linoleum. In an earlier age, Adam Smith the 18th century economist and author of The Wealth of Nations was born in the town. Sandford Fleming was born in Kirkcaldy on 7 January 1827. He pioneered the changes to standard time and time zones for the whole world. Continue reading

A sundial commission unwrapped for an 80th birthday celebration

A sundial commission for an 80th birthday celebration

The design is a polar sundial, which tilts up at the latitude angle. The happy owner has unwrapped his 80th birthday present from the family.

“My father turns 80 this year and we are looking to commission a sundial in celebration. Is this possible? What’s the process? How long does it take?” When this email appeared in our inbox one day in March of course we wanted to follow it up. It sounded such a lovely suggestion from the family. Later when we learned a little more it looked like a perfect plan. Continue reading

Armillary sundial reads summer solstice by the shadow of a ball at noon

At the summer solstice the armillary sundial casts a shadow of the ball at noon

At summer solstice the ball on the upper tropic ring casts its shadow exactly onto the opposite ring below. The upper tropical ring is the tropic of Cancer and lower ring is Capricorn.

The armillary sphere dates back to ancient times when astronomers created their own vision of the earth and the heavens. The idea still works today and our own design creates a sundial with a special feature of two balls that mark the passage of the seasons by their shadows. One of the balls reads summer solstice. This is the high point of the year when the sun is highest in the sky. Continue reading