printed from a 5-inch Gunter-type horary quadrant by Hayes, the celestial map featuring a reverse image of the six constellations from the volvelle with reverse calendrical scale, graduated reversed hour-scale in I-XII twice
5¼ x 7½in. (13.4 x 18.9cm.)


Bryden, D. 'The Instrument-Maker and the Printer', Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society 55 (1997) pp. 3-7.
Jardine, B. 'Reverse-printed paper instruments', Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society (Forthcoming)

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Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.

Lot Essay

At first sight the celestial map and letters appear nonsensical and reversed, but this isn't a print from a copper-plate intending to illustrate a book or a trade card for the scientific instrument maker. Rather this had been printed from an actual brass instrument. At first we thought it was made by Elias Allen (1588-1653) because of the high quality of the engraving, but based on recent research an attribution to his brother's apprentice Walter Hayes is preferred.
Only six other reverse printed instruments are known to have survived, they are all in museum and library collections and are all printed from very finely made instruments by either Elias Allen, Henry Sutton or John Rowley. Why they came to be made is uncertain. It has been suggested that they were records of particularly difficult work or to be used a sample to show a potential customer the maker's virtuoso ability as an engraver. Whatever the reason behind it, this paper instrument is a most curious and rare survival.
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