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 the 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’s party 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.


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