The sundial on the Maison de Bardonnèche – Vallouise

A beautiful sundial created by the master sundial maker Zarbula for the Marchioness de Bardonnèche.

In 1840, Zarbula made eight sundials in the Briançon and Queyras areas, which is a considerable number.

This very beautiful sundial, signed with the initials Z.G.F. is characteristic of the master’s work and is interesting for many reasons: trompe l’oeil frame, presence of the equatorial line, imaginary or comical animals.

Exceptionally, the initials of the commissioner, the Marchioness de Bardonnèche, are also present on the face of the sundial. The Marchioness insisted that the motto ‘In lucem omnia vana. Vita fugit sicut umbra’ (In the light everything is vain. Life flees like a shadow.) be inscribed on the dial and it is said that the highly respected and heeded Master would have liked to add the second part of the saying ‘Coelum regula. Forte tua’ (It is Heaven that decides. More powerful than you.)

The translation of these sayings, in Latin mixed with patois, is open to interpretation as is the interpretation of the iconography.