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 The Description and Use of the Globes, and the Orrery, by which is prefixed By way of introduction, a brief account of the Solar System.

First edition.

Thomas Wright and Richard Cushee, 1731,8vo, Contemporary panelled calf, with 7 folding engraved plates, woodcut decoration ,woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces,
An expansion of Harris’s 1703 work, including a lengthy description of the orrery.

First edition.

Thomas Wright and Richard Cushee, 1731,8vo, Contemporary panelled calf, with 7 folding engraved plates, woodcut decoration ,woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces,
An expansion of Harris’s 1703 work, including a lengthy description of the orrery.

In about 1724 Harris moved in with John Senex (1678-1740), notable chart and map-maker. They co-operated to produce at least two star-maps, Stellarum Fixarum Hemisphaerium Australe and Boreale; in the plane of the equator; Harris name is writ large in the headline text, though the copyright remained in the hands of Senex, after his death his wife sold it. A copy of Harris’s chart was in the library of Mme. Emilie du Chatelet, mistress and colleague of Voltaire, which may be the one now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and perhaps seized from her son’s library when he was beheaded during the French Revolution. Although the pair of star maps in the plane of the equator are well represented in astronomy museums, there may also be a further pair in the plane of the ecliptic. It is likely that production of these charts was related to the premature, much contested and hotly resented publication by Halley and Newton of Flamsteed’s long delayed observations of the stars. In the Australe chart Joseph commemorates Polish astronomer Hevelius and King Jan III Sobieski’s defeat of the invading Ottoman Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna, for the constellation Scutum is named Scutum Sobiescanum and illustrated with a glowing crucifix and the initials INRI. It is not easy to date the first publication of these charts, partly because the date 1690 too is large in the title and the facile tendency has been to take that as the publication date; but 1690 is before Harris was born and during the childhood of Senex. The most likely period for its creation is when Harris was working for John Senex, from January 1725 until he left on a voyage to Vera Cruz in June of that same year. When he returned from Vera Cruz in April 1728 Harris immediately started work on self-publishing his Treatise of Navigation and producing for Thomas Wright, instrument maker, his Description and Use of the Globe; and the Orrery. Wolfgang Steinicke in ‘William Herschel, Flamsteed Numbers and Harris’s Star Maps’ says that these star-maps were still being relied on by William Herschel towards the end of the century.

[Tomash & Williams H22],

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