Sextant by Spencer Browning to a Royal Naval Officer c1870 – Sold
Antique sextant of oxidised and lacquered bronze curve-bar frame, the brass limb with inset silver scale divided to 170 degrees, signed by the maker “Spencer Browning and Co., Portsmouth” and bearing the name “M.L. Bridger.” 6” index bar set with diffuser, vernier with tangent and clamping screws, and reading glass, the apex with index glass and adjustment screw. Four index shades, one green and three graduated red. Horizon glass with three shades, one green and two graduated red. Fine rosewood handle, adjustable telescope ring, all arranged upon a fine cast and machined frame. Together with a complete, original and full suite of accessories comprising: astronomical or collimating telescope having two magnification tubes, star scope, sighting scope, screw-on filter. Two mirror adjustment tools, rosewood handled turnscrew, faux-tortoiseshell magnifier.
The whole contained within its original, fitted, mahogany key stone case with compartments and blue velvet-faced buffers. The inner lid with trade label: “Spencer Browning & Co, Compass Makers To H.M. Navy, Manufacturers of Mathematical & Philosophical Instruments, Opticians & Instrument Makers to Her Majesty, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent, and The Royal Yacht Squadron, 52 High Street & Globe Steam Factory, Portsmouth,” with hand-annotated note: “ot/-, ut/-.” Twin closing hooks, lock and original key.
The frame retaining virtually all its original finish, the shades, mirrors and telescopes in excellent, undamaged condition with high clarity. The tubes with some losses and patination. A repair to one leg. The mahogany case with some abrasions and marks, some slight damage to corner, well figured with good colour and polish.
A rarity in its own right, these instruments are very seldom encountered. For its original, unrestored condition, completeness and clear historical connection, this is very much a collector’s piece.
Spencer Browning & Co is recorded as working from 1840-1873, a continuation of the firm Spencer, Browning & Rust after the death of Ebenezer Rust, Jr. As well as two addresses in London, the company had premises at 52 High Street, Portsmouth and Globe Steam Factory, Portsmouth from c1861.
Lieutenant M.L. Bridger, RN, commanded HBM Gunboat Sheldrake, a Forester class boat on the China Station, from February 1879 until at least 1882.
Dimensions: 12″ wide x 9½” deep x 5″ high
Stock No: SX0273
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