Garden Antiques

Antique Sundials

** Additional images
Doulton stoneware sundial ** 19th Century Doulton stoneware sundial pedestal decorated with trailing wisteria and stamped 'Doulton Lambeth' surmounted by a bronze sundial plate indistinctly inscribed 'P Dolland, LONDON' together with a hexagonal stone base.

For details of Doulton click here

46½" (118cms) Height to top of pedestal

Price     £5200.00

Limestone sundial  ** Impressive early 19th Century carved limestone Sundial pedestal surmounted by square bronze plate together with square stone base

54" (137cms) Height to top of pedestal

Price    £9500.00

terracotta sundial with bronze plate  **

19th Century (circa 1870) sundial pedestal with wrythen stem stamped 'TERRA COTTA, M H BLANCHARD & CO, Blackfriars Road  London' surmounted by bronze sundial plate inscribed  'John Doe   1791   lost time can never be reclaimed'

For details of Blanchard click here

43" (109cms) Height to top of pedestal

Price   £2200.00  RESERVED

Compton Pottery P:utto Sundial  ** Early 20th Century Compton Pottery earthenware sundial in the form of a kneeling putto a dial in the form of a hemisperical bowl a tapering cylindrical pedestal inscribed "USE ME WELL / SET ME RIGHT / AND I TIME WILL TELL" as well as "MDCCCCXI" representing the date 1911

For details of Compton Pottery click here

46" (117cms) High

Price  £2400.00


Blanchard Armillary Sundial  **

19th Century (circa 1870)  sundial pedestal with wrythen stem stamped

"TERRA COTTA,  M H BLANCHARD & CO,  Blackfriars Road London" 

surmounted by a later brass armillary sphere sundial stamped "WESTWOOD DIALS ENGLAND"

For details of Blanchard click here

Pedestal 50" (127cms) High
68" (173cms) Overall Height
15" (38cms) Diameter of Armillary Sphere

Price   £1800.00


Blanchard ivy decorated sundial  ** Substantial mid 19th Century stoneware sundial stamped 'M H Blanchard 1853' surmounted by later octagonal plate inscribed 'Sunny Hours'

45¾" (116cms) Height to top of pedestal

Price    £8500.00

19th century sundial  ** Early 19th Century carved sandstone sundial pedestal with bronze plate inscribed "Briggs Plymouth" and " Latitude 50 44'" corresponding to Exeter

49" (124cms) Height to top of pedestal

Price     £3200.00

stone sundial ** Sundial adapted from a Portland stone gable end including 20th Century brass sundial plate (would also be suitable for use as a mounting block, click here to view)

25" (63cms) Height to top of pedestal
22" (56cms) Wide

Price    £750.00


19th Century carved sandstone sundial pedestal with later plate inscribed "Silas Higgon  Lat 52 30N" (corresponding with the latitude of Birmingham) together with graph detailing the Equation of Time calibration throughout the year to compensate for the Earths elliptical orbit around the Sun

39½" (100cms) Height to top of pedestal (excluding gnomon)

Price    £680.00

Vintage sundial  ** 20th Century Composition Stone 'Georgian' Sundial Pedestal with brass plate

42" (107cms) Height to top of pedestal
15.5" (39cms) Diameter of Plate

Price   £1250.00

Heliochhronometer on stone pedestal  ** Early 20th Century bronze Heliochronometer by Negretti and Zambra on stone pedestal

Heliochronometers are extremely precise forms of sundial capable of accuracy within one minute assuming it is in sunlight.

Invented at the end of the 19th Century with the introduction of Greenwich Mean Time in Britain. Up until this time each major city in the UK had its own local time but with the expansion   of the railway network  a standardised time was necessitated.

The heliochronometer is calibrated  with months and days to enable it to mathematically calculate the "Equation of Time" compensating for the earths elliptical rather than circular orbit of the sun which would otherwise result in sundials being up to fifteen minutes fast or slow
depending on the time of year.

39" (99cms) Height to top of pedestal
10" (25cm) Height of Heliocronometer

For detailed photograph of dial click image

Price   £2900.00 


Details of 19th and 20th Century sundial plates


19th Century Sundial Plate

Detailed engraving



Example of a good quality engraved 19th Century bronze sundial plate




Sundial spurious date

Example of a 20th Century cast brass sundial plate


Thomas Grice sundial plate

Example of 20th Century cast brass Thomas Grice sundial plate

"Thomas Grice 1705  Seize the present moment the evening hour is nigh"


Brief history of Sundials


Although sundials have been in existence for over 2000 years they were not common place in England until the 17th Century when vertical dials were regularly incorporated into the fabric of public buildings such as churches.

The custom of introducing of sundials in the
form of stone sundial pedestals surmounted with engraved bronze or slate plates in private gardens began at the latter part of the 17th Century. The early producers of sundial plates were originally clock makers such as  Hilkiah Bedford and Thomas Tompion. Garden sundials continued to be produced until the end of the 19th Century  when the introduction of standard time in the form of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)  
together with affordable accurate clocks and watches brought about the demise of the sundial as a reliable means of  telling the time.

Throughout the 20th Century up to the present time garden sundials have continued to be produced for primarily decorative purposes.


How can I tell if my sundial is a
17th, 18th or 19th Century original or a later reproduction?

One of the questions most commonly raised to us is "I have an old sundial plate with a 17th or 18th Century date on it, is it genuinely of this age?"

Unfortunately there are numerous examples of sundial plates bearing what purport to be 17th  and 18th  Century dates such as "1661" or 1705" however these were massed produced during the 20th Century. 
These spurious dates are confusing but as a simple guide the 20th Century  reproductions tended to be made from cast brass with relatively poor definition  in the numerals and decoration together with mottos in Latin or English. 
Whereas the 17th  to 19th  Century originals would be have been true scientific instruments made from bronze, slate or copper with inscribed / engraved numerals and decoration normally together with the makers name and a latitude for where the sundial has been designed to be used.

In summary a bronze or slate sundial plate with engraved numerals and decoration together with a makers name is more likely to be an 18th or 19th Century original.  

Whereas a cast brass sundial plate with a "date" and motto (in Latin or English)
but without a makers name is more than likely to be a 20th Century reproduction. 

A makers name however is not necessarily an indication of age since at the end of the 20th Century a large quantity of reproduction brass sundials measuring 9.75" (25cm) diameter were cast with the details "Thomas Grice 1705  Seize the present moment the evening hour is nigh"

There are exceptions to these guidelines but we hope they help in determining the  age of sundial plates.

Adjacent are some images intended to help determine whether the sundial is a modern reproduction or a genuine original.


Old Park Farm, Abbey Road, Beech, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 4AP,
United Kingdom
UK Tel: 01420 560055 email:enquiries@jardinique.co.uk

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