A Rare and lovely French Silver Pocket Sundial by Louis Chapotot dating to 1684.
The Sundial is presented in its original case sheathed in black chagrin with green felt inside, and is in perfect functioning state.
It showcases finely engraved floral motives on the reverse where twenty main European cities’ latitudes are recorded.
Paris is recorded as well as most of France’s most important cities at the time, but also, Venise, Rome, Genoa, London and Basle.
The front octagonal plate is engraved with hour scales in Roman and Arabic numerals and shows and features a compass engraved with cardinal points with an adjustable and folding bird’s eye ‘gnomon’.
Michel Butterfield, born in London around 1643, was the son of the shoemaker Thomas Butterfield and Elisabeth Latonnel. He would have come in France during the year 1663 and two years later, on 15 August 1665 at the age of 22, he was presented by a certain Benoist Hankinson, squire of the city of London housed in Paris, to serve his apprenticeship with Jean Choizy, ‘maître fondeur en terre et sable et faiseur d’instruments pour les instruments de mathématiques’, for a period of 4 years.
Jean Choizy was one of the greatest manufacturers at this time.
At the end of his apprenticeship, in August 1669, Michel Butterfield was probably employed as a mathematician journeyman or ‘compagnon’ for a few years before becoming a master in the early 1670s after obtaining the French nationality on 8 April 1672.
In 1677 and 1678, Michel Butterfield published in the ‘Journal des Sçavans’, promotional leaflets on new instruments.
In 1678, when he wrote he was a great friend of Cassini and that he worked on microscopes imported by Huygens, as well as in 1681, he published leaflets on odometers.
In 1680 he manufactured for the King, under the direction of Cassini, a silver planisphere that was shown at the Academy of Sciences, and to the King of England during his visit to the Paris Observatory in 1690. At the wedding of his brother-in-law Jacques Michel Vernier in 1681, he is mentioned as ‘Ingénieur du Roy en instruments de mathématique’.
Michel Butterfield died on 28 March 1724 at the age of 81
The Hallmark located on the same side as the cities features a ‘Fleur de Lys’ which was the Mark used for smaller objects in Paris between 1684 and 1687.