Antique nautical compass having 2½” hand drawn marine pattern dry card with cardinals, intercardinals, and elaborate fleur de lys indicating North, outer reciprocal azimuth circle showing 0 – 360 degrees in counter-clockwise direction, divided to 1 degree increments with stations at 5 degrees. Centre of card with gem stone suspension, surrounded by retailer’s name “H. Hughes & Son, 59 Fenchurch St, London.” Set in a substantial ballasted pale-glazed bowl with black lubber line, swinging in gimbals. Telescopic release and park, contained within its spun outer case with extension post and suspension ring, marked to inside bottom “B&S” and no. “6.” Together with its original burgundy leather over timber blue velvet and imperial purple silk lined case.
Francis Barker was the pre-eminent compass maker of the time, and although “B&S” is not a usual marking for a Barker instrument, several Barker compasses of different styles have been noted marked thus, and this one bears all his hallmarks, not only in the actual dial design and quality of hand-painting, but also in the use of an old ledger page to back the dial.
Henry Hughes & Son was a partnership between Henry and his son, Alexander, formed in 1876. Henry Hughes was London’s leading supplier of maritime navigational instruments, and his navigational warehouse at 120 (the number was changed to ’59’ in 1855) Fenchurch St was a well-known rendezvous for seaman.
These larger sized ‘pocket’ gimballed compasses are very seldom seen – this one, which is in really lovely condition, and with its rare counter-clockwise azimuth circle, is absolutely a collector’s piece.
Dimensions of case: 4″ diameter x 1½” deep
Stock No: SI1033