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Astronomy, Diagram, Globes, Armillary Sphere, Orrery, George Adams, Antique Print, London, 1798


[Thomas?] Milne (artist)
[John?] Lodge (engraver)
Spheres and Globes — See System of Geography, Plate 2
from The New Royal Encyclopedia, London: 1798
Cooke, London: 1798
Hand-colored engraving
14 x 8.25 inches, image
15 x 9.75 inches, overall

Illustration of globe and globe devices (labeled Figures 1 though 4) manufactured by George Adams in London, from an illustrated late-18th-century British encyclopedia. The top row shows a Copernican and Ptolemaic armillary spheres; the bottom row shows terrestrial and celestial globes on matching stands. This print is from a British 18th Century encyclopedia published by C. Cooke, London c. 1798 titled The New Encyclopaedia; or Modern Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. on a New and Improved Plan, in which all the Respective Sciences are Arranged into Complete Systems. An alternate title used on some editions was The New Royal Encyclopaedia; or Complete Modern Universal. The encyclopedia contained 153 copper engraved plates on a wide variety of subjects including astronomy, globes, geography, botany, optics, etc.

Product description continues below.


Description of each illustration:

Figure 1, Copernican Armillary Sphere is made of brass. An orrery with the planets and moons revolve around a central sun disc, within an openwork sphere that has an equatorial zodiac band with cast figures of the constellations. In the supporting central standard right below the armillary is a clock that bears the name “G. Adams.”

Figure 2, Newly Improved Armillary Sphere is a Ptolemaic armillary sphere made of brass incorporating a zodiac band along with equatorial, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Arctic, and Antarctic circles. A terrestrial globe is mounted in the center. The sphere assembly adjusts to cant on various angles, and the stand bears the name “G. Adams London.”

Figure 3, Terrestrial Globe does not have the Adams name, but is of the typical form for globes produced by George Adams, with full horizon band, and raised on a cabriole leg stand with compass stretcher. The globe shows the tracks of the explorers Cook and Anson.

Figure 4, Celestial Globe is on a stand matching that of the terrestrial globe. It depicts constellations delineated as figures according to classical mythology.

The print credits Milne for the drawing and Lodge as the engraver. Milne may have been Thomas Milne, an engraver and map seller active in London as early as 1788. The engraver may have been John Lodge (d. 1796), who was active in London from around 1754 until 1794. He engraved maps for Gentleman’s Magazine (1754-1772) and Political Magazine (1780-1790), and created separately issued maps, among many other works. He also engraved portraits.

George Adams, Sr., (1704-72), the patriarch of the Adams family of globe makers, wrote numerous treatises on globes and scientific instruments including A Treatise Describing and Explaining the Construction and Use of New Celestial and Terrestrial Globes, published in London in 1766. He is thought to have purchased and used the globe gores developed earlier in the 18th century by John Senex and James Ferguson, the pioneers of British globe making.

George’s sons, George Adams, Jr. (1750-95) and Dudley (1762-1830), continued the family business as instrument and globe makers in London. The Adams firm produced terrestrial and celestial floor and table globes, pocket globes, and astronomical devices, in addition to other scientific instruments. Dudley Adams continued the business until 1817, when bankruptcy forced him to sell the pocket globe plates to the Lane firm, which reissued them in updated editions.

Full publication information: C. Cooke, No. 17 Pasternoster Row,  London

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling, and wear. Hand color applied at later date (the plates were originally issued uncolored).


Dekker, Elly, et al. Globes at Greenwich: A Catalogue of the Globes and Armillary Spheres in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. London: Oxford University Press and the National Maritime Museum, 1999. p. 245.

Dekker, Elly and van der Krogt, Peter. Globes from the Western World. London: Zwemmer, 1993. p. 111-116.

Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a checklist of members.” Exeter Working Papers in Book History. and (21 May 2019).

Additional information


18th Century