Court Box Sundial
Joost de Beer, signed
Amsterdam, c. 1625
Turned ivory, fire-gilt brass, glass, paper
Signed “Gemaeckt t’Amsterdam bÿ Ioost de Beer“
Height 3 cm
Diameter 9 cm
Joost de Beer originally came from Antwerp, but worked as a clockmaker since approximately 1590 in Amsterdam, where he lived until his death in 1636. Only two signed works from the artist have survived in public collections: a diptych sundial in the Rijksmuseum for Natural History in Leiden and a travel sundial in the Museo Astronomico in Rome. The compass for the latter as well as the box in which the sundial would originally have been encased have been lost. The size of the present box sundial is noteworthy as well as the workmanship of the precious ivory casing, which has been carefully formed on a turning lathe. This confirms that De Beer did not intend this sundial to be an object for daily use, but rather as a valuable object for a collection. This object would have had a place in the Kunst – and Wunderkammer of an influential collector from Amsterdam.