A naval sextant, of ebony, brass and ivory, by Spencer, Browning & Co., London, circa 1850.

A sextant is an instrument used to measure the angle between any two visible objects.

Its primary use is to determine the angle between a celestial object and the horizon.

Knowing this angle, together with the time at which it was measured, enables the user to calculate a position on a nautical chart

This beautifully made example belonged to Lt. Edward Cecil R.N. (1834-1862), son of Brownlow, 2nd Marquess of Exeter (1795-1867), who briefly commanded the gunboat Dapper, which was part of the Baltic Fleet in the Crimean War.


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