National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Kew Palace Sundial

Summary

Type Other

     Metal sundial consisting a diagonal/triangular shaft/pin decorated with filigree ironwork of plant forms, mounted on an inscribed circular plate. Plate mounted on a circular and octagonal carved stone pedestal decorated with William IV monogram on all four sides set into roundels separated by stylised leaf forms. Pedestal mounted on a low black stone rectangular base.
     Replica of one of two sundials made for William IV and cast from the original at Hampton Court by Martin Holden when the first was returned to its original position in the Privy Garden after being moved to Kew Gardens in 1852. Both original sundials were companion instruments to two of Tompion's equation clocks that were used for regulating other clocks.
    

Inscriptions

THIS REPLICA OF TOMPION'S SUNDIAL WAS MADE TO MARK THE VISIT TO KEW OF H.M. QUEEN ELIZABETH ON THE OCCASION OF THE BICENTENARY OF THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, 1959. (around edge of sundial) Towards centre: Set the Watch to much faster or slower than the time by the/ Sun according to the Table for the Day of the Month when you/ set it, and if the Watch go true, the Difference of it from the Sun/ any day afterward will the same with the Table. On stone plaque set into paving around base of sundial facing Kew Palace: ON THIS SPOT/ IN 1725/ THE REV JAMES BRADLEY/ MADE THE FIRST OBSERVATIONS/ WHICH LED TO THE GREAT DISCOVERIES/ THE ABERRATION OF LIGHT AND/ THE NUTATION OF THE EARTH'S AXIS/ THE TELESCOPE WHICH HE USED/ HAD BEEN ERECTED BY SAM. MOLYNEUX ESQ./ IN A HOUSE WHICH AFTERWARDS BECAME/ A ROYAL RESIDENCE/ AND WAS TAKEN DOWN IN 1808/ TO PERPETUATE THE MEMORY OF/ SO IMPORTANT A STATION/ THIS DIAL WAS PLACED ON IT IN 1852/ BY COMMAND OF / HIS MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY/ KING WILLIAM THE FOURTH.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Tompion, Thomas Other
Holden, Martin Other

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
sundial (plate and gnomon) bronze 54 cms (diameter of base), 39 cms (length of needle)
pedestal stone (painted white) 117 cms (h) x 45 cms (w) x 45 cms (d)
base stone (painted black) 15 cms (h) x 47 cms (w) x 45 cms (l)

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
RH38 SWL
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
  • Metallic staining
Structural condition
Vandalism
Road Kew Road
Precise location On paved area of lawn in front of Kew Palace.
A-Z ref p. 3, F4
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1959 (1852)
Unveiling details None
Commissioned by Original commissioned by William IV. Replica commissioned by Royal Botanic Gardens?
Duty of care Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Trust
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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