Sundial; Raphael Clint; c1837; 2011.70
SundialAbout this object
This sundial is a rare surviving metal object made in the colony of New South Wales by Raphael Clint, colonial engraver and lithographer around 1837-1839. It is engraved Daniel Cohen, Port Macquarie. Clint made many items including metal door plates and book plates, this is one of only a few surviving sundials attributed to him. Clint advertised his sundials during 1837 in a Sydney newspaper. This sundial evidences Clint’s skills as an engraver and metalworker and the quality and form of colonial metalwork of the period.
Sundials of this type were typically made for the gardens of country properties or substantial city homes, however given Daniel Cohen’s status as a convict for most of his time at Port Macquarie it is unlikely that Cohen lived in such a property here. It is possible that the sundial was given to him as a wedding gift by his family when he married Esther D Isaacs only daughter of Widow Isaacs, London on 25 October 1837. Cohen’s brothers, also jewellers and watchmakers conducted businesses in George Street, Sydney near the premises of Clint.
The sundial is also a fine representative object showing how time was measured in colonial Australia and at Port Macquarie in particular.
The sundial has a clear association with the penal settlement of Port Macquarie established as a place for secondary offenders by Governor of New South Wales Lachlan Macquarie in 1821. It belonged to convict Daniel Cohen, a jeweller by trade who was tried and convicted at Lancaster in 1830 for receiving stolen goods. Cohen had also been previously sentenced for receiving stolen goods in 1826 and served an 18 month sentence in England. Later after receiving a Conditional Pardon in 1842, Cohen would again face charges of receiving stolen goods in 1845 however the case was not established and Cohen was acquitted of all charges.
Port Macquarie became a penal establishment for ‘specials’, invalid and ‘idiot’ convicts during the 1830s. Daniel Cohen was a ‘Special’ or gentleman convict, which meant that he was educated and granted privileges not usually granted to other convicts. It is possible that such privileges enabled him to purchase the sundial for himself as a keepsake of his time at Port Macquarie.
The sundial is also a rare surviving object of any type associated with the Port Macquarie penal settlement 1821-1847 and a convict who served his sentence here. Very few other objects that can be directly associated with the Port Macquarie penal settlement have survived, these are mostly paper objects such as paintings by Joseph Backler, convict artist, Mitchell Library collection and a convict ships bible belonging to the Reverend John Cross in the Port Macquarie Historical Society collection.
Purchased in 2011 with the assistance of the National Cultural Heritage Account and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
Liz Gillroy and Debbie Sommers 14 November 2011
BronzeInscription and Marks
Engraved: R Clint FECIT Sydney; Dan’l Cohen Port Macquarie Lat.31 (degree symbol) 28½’SMeasurements
175mmL, 175mmW, 7.5mmH
Purchased: With the assistance of the National Cultural Heritage Account and Port Macquarie - Hastings CouncilObject Type
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