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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