A brass volvelle for determining the date of Easter, English, second quarter of the 18th century,
Lot 67
A brass volvelle for determining the date of Easter,
English, second quarter of the 18th century,
Sold for £4,750 (US$ 8,015) inc. premium
Lot Details
A brass volvelle for determining the date of Easter, English, second quarter of the 18th century,
the instrument is composed of a circular disc with handle, on which a rotatable disc is mounted. The obverse is engraved with four circular scales giving, in the outer ring all possible dates for Easter from 22 March to 25 April; in the second ring the Dominical Letter; in the third, the Golden Number in the Julian calendar, and in the fourth, which is engraved on the second, movable, disc, the Golden Number 'Corr[ecte]d Stile', ie in the Gregorian calendar. An economy of engraving has been made in these scales by not engraving some numbers, leaving others blank, and doubling the scales 1-9/10-19. The reverse carries instructions for calculating the Golden Number and the Dominical Letter. These are clearly engraved in upper and lower case italic script. In original fitted oak case with lid. 4¼in (11cm) diameter

Footnotes

  • The Golden Number marks the position of a year in the cycle of nineteen years within which the various aspects of the Moon return to the same position (within the limits of an hour) that they had nineteen years earlier.

    The Dominical Letter indicates Sundays throughout the year. Considering the letters A-G to represent the first week of the year, the letter corresponding to the first Sunday, is the Dominical Letter for the year. Thus, if the year begins on a Sunday, the Dominical Letter is A, if it begins on a Monday, it will be G, and so forth.

    In use, having found these two elements by following the instructions on the reverse, the values are entered into the scales on the obverse to derive a direct reading of the date of Easter.
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