An amber octagonal bowl, containing a silver compass, the lid carved with a dove, North German, circa 1690.

A list of the contents of the Jewel Closet at Burghley, drawn up by Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793) in the late eighteenth century, records: ‘an amber compass, belong’d to John, Earl of Exeter’. 

Whilst most of the routes used by the 5th Earl (1648-1700) and his party, when travelling on the Grand Tour, were well-established and mapped, those that led from France to Italy through the Alps were poor.

A compass would certainly have been useful.


Related collections