Astronomical and navigational instruments, Fine art, Prints, drawings and watercolours, Popular Astronomy, 4. Astronomy and print

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Comets and Aerolites

AST0051.9
Astronomical and navigational instruments

Object details:

Object ID AST0051.9
Description One of a set of 12 hand-tinted astronomical prints with an explanatory card. The publisher is identified on each print as J. Reynolds or James Reynolds of the Strand, London. These cards were first issued by Reynolds in 1846, although he and other publishers continued to produce them throughout the second half of the 19th century. They responded to a perceived market for popular science products and were intended for informal learning within the home. They could be bought in sets or singly and, at a price of 1 shilling, were affordable to middle class audiences. A number of the cards have tissue paper backings and holes in the card in order to allow the user to hold them up to the light and see the stars, planets or phases of the Moon displayed as light areas against a darker background. Several of the more detailed images were drawn and engraved by John Emslie, who also collaborated with Reynolds on another set of diagrams, "Illustrations of Natural Philosophy". Reynolds’ educational diagrams received a prize medal at the International Exhibition of 1862. One of a set of 12 hand-tinted astronomical prints with explanatory card. In the centre of this image is an illustration of the eccentric orbit of a comet, demonstrating that the tail points away from the Sun. Surrounding this are depictions of 12 comets, numbered with a key below. They are the comets of 1680, 1741 (with six tails), 1811, Halley's Comet, Encke's Comet and six images based on ancient sources. Text at the top introduces Comets and Aerolites and two vignettes at the bottom show meteor showers witnessed in Europe in 1836 and at the Niagra Falls in 1833.
Date made 1846-1860

Artist/Maker Emslie, John
Reynolds, James
Place made London, England
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving; paper
Measurements 292 x 235 mm
Parts
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