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Astronomy, Diagram, Celestial Chart, James Reynolds, London, Prints on Card, Antique, mid 19th Century

John Emslie (1813-75) (artist and engraver)
Astronomical Diagram Cards
James Reynolds, 174 Strand, London: 1846 (and later, but all 19th Century)
Hand-colored engravings on card, some with tissue insets
11.5 x 9 inches each (average approximate size)
$150 to $450 each.  Some illustrated have been sold.  Please inquire as to current availability

Various principles of astronomy are demonstrated in this fine set of charts and diagrams.  Among the subjects, each treated on a card, are stars and constellations, revolution of the earth around the sun (relating to eclipses and seasons), the moon, and comets.  Some of the cards have colored tissue paper insets in cutout holes that illuminate the illustrations to mimic the night sky when the card is held in front of a light source.

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Description

Chart of the Heavens Shewing [sic.] the Stars Visible on any Night Throughout the Year
Stars visible to the eye throughout the year with spandrel illustrations of star formations and nebulae and a key showing various star magnitudes. Stars indicated by punched holes backed with tissue paper.

Transparent Solar System, Displaying the Planets with their Orbits, as Known at the Present Day
This depiction of the solar system shows the orbits of the eight planets known at the time, up to Uranus. The orbits are drawn as circles, though an elliptical orbit is depicted to illustrate “the eccentric orbits of the asteroids or minor planets.” The orbit of Halley’s Comet is also included. Various celestial bodies are indicated as punched holes, tissue backed and variously colored.

The Central Sun, and Theory of the Stellar Universe.
Conceptual illustration of the Milky Way galaxy filled with stars. Large stars at the center of the Milky Way are indicated as punched holes with tissue backing.

Eclipses. The Theory of the Tides.
The relative positions of the sun, moon, and earth are shown to demonstrate how they cause eclipses and tides.

Diagram Illustrating the Theory of the Seasons
The diagram shows how the tilt of earth and its elliptical orbit around the sun causes seasonal changes in climate.  The four seasons are represented by decorative spandrel illustrations of cherubs.

Geographical Diagram of the Earth Adapted for Illustrating its Movements &c. and exhibiting the Chief Mountains & Rivers in the World (sold)
North and south circular circumpolar maps of the earth, rotating as volvelles (movable paper wheels), are accompanied by diagrams comparing the lengths of the world’s largest rivers and of mountain ranges shown in relative size.

The Earth and Its Atmosphere (sold)
This cross-section of earth at the equator shows the elevation of the crust above or below sea-level, including two volcanoes, surrounded by the earth’s atmosphere, colored blue.  Two small diagrams show how the atmosphere refracts light to create mirages of a ship at sea and to affect our perception of the sun’s location as it approaches the horizon.

Diagram of Meteorology, Displaying the Various Phenomena of the Atmosphere.
An imaginative landscape view with numerous illustrations of diverse meteorological and geological phenomena combined into one scene, incorporating both mountains and sea.  Within the picture are an assortment of clouds formations, rain, snow, glaciers, the aurora borealis, rainbows, lightning, falling stars, and meteors.  Extensive explanatory text verso.

Transparent Diagram of the Phases of the Moon
The diagram depicts phases of the moon and other lunar phenomena, as it revolves around the earth, and how the phases are affected by its position relative to the sun.  The moon’s phases and the sun are indicated with punched shapes, backed with paper and colored.

Telescopic View of the Moon.
Detailed depiction of the moon as it appears through a telescope, showing craters and other physical formations.  Moon backed with blue tissue paper.

Methods of Ascertaining the Longitude
Diagram of the relationship between the sun, earth, moon, a star, and Jupiter, illustrating the method of calculating longitude on earth using astronomical sightings.

Methods of Ascertaining the Latitude
Diagram of the relationship between the sun, earth and stars, to illustrate the method of calculating latitude on earth using astronomical sightings.

Various principles of astronomy are demonstrated in this fine set of charts and diagrams.  Among the subjects, each treated on a card, are stars and constellations, revolution of the earth around the sun (relating to eclipses and seasons), the moon, and comets.  Some of the cards have colored tissue paper insets in cutout holes that illuminate the illustrations to mimic the night sky when the card is held in front of a light source.

James Reynolds was primarily a publisher of educational scientific and engineering diagrams. He is best known for his prints on cards. These were issued singly (some bearing the price of 1 shilling) or loosely bound as sets in a portfolio, some reissued from time to time with changes in design or publishers.

Reynolds frequently collaborated with John Emslie as artist and engraver. Reynolds and Emslie’s first and most famous and collaboration was Astronomical Diagrams, copyrighted 1846, issued singly or in sets of 9 or 12, and often reissued. These were usually issued on card; some had colored tissue inserts meant to be illuminated by holding the card up to a bright light. Another large scientific work of Reynolds and Emslie on card was Illustrations of Natural Philosophy – Popular Diagrams. This was variously issued with 44 scientific teaching diagrams on geology, geography, astronomy, physics, optics, chemistry, mechanics, and other related sciences and technologies (c. 1850-64 and later). Reynolds astronomy and natural philosophy prints were also issued as regular prints (not on card) folding into an octavo binding, as Reynold’s Universal Atlas of Astronomy, Geology, Physical Geography, the Vegetable Kingdom, and Natural Philosophy.

Reynolds also published a series of larger scientific prints, called Large Illustrations of Science, apparently designed to be hung on classroom walls, including Principles of Hydrostatics (London: 1873). In addition, Reynolds published a number of atlases of England, Britain and London, often reprinted throughout the second half of the 19th century, including Reynolds’s Travelling Atlas of England (1848) and Reynolds’ s Geological Atlas of Great Britain (1860 and later).  Reynolds’ educational diagrams received a prize medal at the International Exhibition of 1862. James Reynolds’ successor James Reynolds and Sons continued publishing through at least 1889.

Similar astronomy cards to the offered ones by Reynolds were published in the 1850s by L. Preyssinger of Stuttgart, Germany under the title Astronomischer Bilder-Atlas.Condition:  Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear.  Some with light soiling from handling, chipped or bumped corners.  Paper tone may vary from card to card.

References:

Coakely, Frances. “John Emslie 1848.” IsleofMan.com.  2004.  http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/maps/em1848.htm (19 April 2005).

“Two Meteorological Maps, c. 1850.” Science & Society Picture Library.  2004.  http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?image=10325791 (19 April 2005).

Additional information

Century

19th Century