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

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Transparent Chart of the Heavens, for the Latitude of Great Britain

4. Astronomy and print

Object details:

Object ID AST0051.5
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 an explanatory card, this Transparent Chart could be held up to the light so that the principal stars would appear as bright points against a darker background and aid novice observers in identifying constellations in the night sky. The central image of the constellations and Milky Way is surrounded by a calendar scale, as the image shows "he stars visible on any night throughout the year". Magnitudes of the stars are indicated by size of the hole and by varying symbols. Smaller round images to the top and bottom of the print show clusters and nebulae. Brief instructions for use are printed at the bottom.
Date made 1846-1860

Artist/Maker Reynolds, James
Place made London
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials organic: paper
Measurements 292 x 235 mm
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