Built In Art

sundial briancon france

A sundial is a simple instrument, which tells time by the movement of the shadow a pointer casts upon a dial,. Sundials are one of the oldest objects that enabled people to measure time. They appeared first in ancient Egypt and later in Greece and Rome. The earliest sundials known are the obelisks (3500 BC.) The Romans adopted the Greek sundials, and the first record of a sun-dial in Rome is 293 BC according to Pliny. They were introduced in Western Europe in the VI or VII century. During the Renaissance period sundials design evolved rapidly adding many new faetures such as markings to indicate the seasons, calendar date, times of sunrise and sunset, Zodiac signs etc.

The sundials with an inclined stylus like the ones below were invented by the Pakistanis mathematicians. To be accurate, the pointer must be slanted at an angle equal to the latitude of its location. The shadow-casting object is named a gnomon. The time is indicated where a shadowfalls on the dial face.


Sundial Spain

18th c. Spanish sundial built in a wall at Montjuich (means 'Jew Mountain' in Catalan)

Sundial Lantenay Castle Burgundy

17th c. Sundial at Château de Lantenay in Burgundy.


This 20th c. sundials comes from Lesegno , Italy. The motto says" Horas non numero nisi serenas," I don't count the hours unless they're quiet


A sundial from Old Meeting House, Norwich. The house was built from 1693 by a immigrant coming from the Netherlands

sundial from Chartres cathedral

A sundial from the south tower of Chartres cathedral, dated 1528.

Traditional Sundials Motto

Work because time flies

Ne Diferas ( don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today)

Silente Loquor ( I speak silently)

Spero lucem ( I'm waiting for the light)

My small shadow measures life

Dum fugit umbra quiesto

Quotide morirur ( Each day I will die)

Sole me, Vos umbra regit ( I live by the rule of the sun, you live by the rule of the shadow)
Ars longa, vita brevis ( The artwork endures, life is short)

I am the joy of all

I only count the day light hours

I measure the pace of the sun and your lives<>

Sundial Pelvoux France

An old Sundial from Pelvoux, a traditional village in the Alpes

Sundial Prague


Sundal Queyras France

Boasting more than 300 days of sunshine per year, sundials crop up everywhere in the Queyras , a region in the south of the Alps.

Sundial in South of the Alps

Giovanni Francesco Zarbula and Remi Potey are the two most celebrated artists who designed sundials in Queyras

Sundial Soules College Oxford

A sundial from All Souls College, Oxford.The College was founded by Henry VI of England in 1438

Sundial saint Lawrence

This sundial is incorporated in the wall of St Lawrence Church,situated in the village of Warkworth in Northumberland. The church dates from the 12th century.

Sundial Saint cesaire, Provence

Sundial Villars des Alpes

sundial Italy

Sundial Sestrières

sundial Prague

Sundial Briancon Hautes Alpes

Sundial Adelburg, Suffolk

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