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Daniel Crouch Rare Books

15th to the 19th century antique atlases, maps, plans, and sea charts

Alternate Text PO Box 329
Larchmont , NY 10538-2945
United States

phone +1 (212) 602 1779

4 Bury Street
London , SW1Y 6AB
United Kingdom

+44 (0)207 042 0240


[The San Zeno Instrument].

A unique late Medieval/early Renaissance volvelle astronomical calendar

A unique calendar, and the only object of its type to have survived from the Middle Ages.

Wall mounted and hanging for over three centuries in the cloister of the Benedictine abbey of San Zeno, Verona, it was the primary timekeeper for the monks who saw and used it daily to organise their devotional schedule. Its three dials can be rotated by hand and chart the phases of the moon, the zodiacal calendar of the stars, the amount of daylight occurring in any given day of the year, and the feast days and times of the Saints to whom the monks intended to pray.

For at least three centuries this remarkable object hung on the wall in the cloister of the abbey of San Zeno, and it was placed in such a way that it would have been seen by all of the monks several times each day: as they left the dormitory for Matins at about midnight and as they returned to bed, as they returned to the church in the morning, and when they retraced their steps again to go back to bed in the evening. It would have been the monks only way of telling the time – it was, in effect, their clock – because it told them what time the sun rose and set each day, how many hours of light and darkness there were, changing with the seasons, and thus allowed them to tell the time based on sunrise, sunset, and the position of the sun in the sky.

Datable to about 1455 – within a year of the printing of the Gutenburg Bible – the Calendar marks the transition from the Middle Ages (generally considered to have ended around 1500 in northern Europe) to the Renaissance (generally considered to have begun about 1400 in Florence). As an object it is essentially medieval in character, yet the artist of the Zodiac illustrations was decidedly Renaissance in style.


Astronomicum Caesareum.

A Mapp of New England

Onderwys in 't Regte Gebruyk van het Hemels-Plyn

A Map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish settlements adjacent thereto.

A General Map of North America

Carte de la Lune.

Mars efter Lowell’s Glober 1894-1914.

A Night-Club Map of Harlem

APOLLO 8 – Earth view


Daniel Crouch Rare Books is a specialist dealer in antique atlases, maps, plans, sea charts and voyages dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Our carefully selected stock also includes a number of fine prints, globes, planetaria, scientific instruments and a selection of cartographic reference books.

Our particular passions include rare atlases, town plans, wall maps, and separately published maps and charts. We strive to acquire unusual and quirky maps that are in fine condition.