Armillary sphere from 1800

Armillary sphere 1800

Armillary sphere, Charles-François Delamarche, c. 1800

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Num. inventory: 169

Object name: armillary sphere

Object date: c. 1800

Author: Charles-François Delamarche

Technique and material: coloured engravings on paper on cardboard, coloured engravings on paper on wood, metal and polychrome wood.


This armillary sphere from the workshop of Charles-François Delamarche in Paris is Ptolemaic, with a diameter of 46.5 cm and a covering of printed cardboard and paper. Its centre is the Earth, and it is surrounded by a metal spherical arc with an external diameter of 35.5 cm, a width of 1.7 cm and a thickness of 0.4 cm that serves as a meridian. The arc bears the inscription “Meridien/Degrés d’elevation du Pôle”, and each quadrant is labelled from 0° to 90°.

The three parallels, the Tropic of Cancer, the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, are graded and with their names in French. The two meridians, the equinox and solstice, are also graded and labelled “Colure Equinoxe” and “Colure des Solstice”. Within the sphere we find a polar axis, a reproduction of the Earth, the symbol for the Moon and the symbol for the Sun. At the bottom, there is a metal ring with the hours labelled in Roman numerals, and the graded arctic circle (Cercle Arctique) is in cardboard near the top. It also has a 6.5 cm wooden horizon with coloured engravings on paper and edges painted red. The ring of the horizon is decorated with the symbols of the zodiac, the months of the year and the directions of the winds, with double grading and a difference in degrees. The sphere is mounted on a 37.2 cm-high Dutch-type base.