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Globe, English, Cary, Celestial, 12-Inch Table Globe, Cabriole Leg Stand, Antique, London, c. 1800


[J. & W.] Cary
12-Inch Celestial Table Globe
London: c. 1800
Mahogany stand with cabriole legs
25 inches high, 17.5 inch diameter horizon band

“Cary’s New Celestial Globe” — a fine English tall table globe of the stars — richly decorated with zodiac and other constellations figures, elegantly depicted by figures from classical mythology and by scientific instruments.

The globe is surmounted by a calibrated brass northern polar hour circle in calibrated full brass meridian, the horizon band with engraved paper calendar and zodiac. It is raised on a mahogany stand in the Queen Anne taste, having four curved molded quadrants supporting the horizon band, supported on a turned baluster standard, on three cabriole legs with pad feet, centered on a medial compass stretcher with engraved paper compass and needle enclosed in glass.

Product description continues below.


The globe is comprised of two sets of twelve hand-colored engraved gores laid to the ecliptic poles, the axis through the celestial poles, the equatorial graduated in degrees and hours, the colures graduated in degrees, the ecliptic graduated in days of the houses of the zodiac with twilight zone. The zodiac belt is within a graph-form grid. The constellations, including zodiac signs, are well delineated and elegantly depicted as figures from Greek mythology, animals, and scientific instruments. The stars are shown to seven orders of magnitude, along with planetary nebulae, according to a key within a small rectangle above the cartouche. Many individual stars are labeled with Greek letters, and in the case of brighter ones like Aldebaran, with their names. Some of the constellations are hand-colored in shades of pink, grey, brown, and olive against the cream-colored background.

The celebrated Cary family of cartographers and globe makers produced some of the greatest late Georgian globes. The firm was started in the late 18th century by John Cary, who often worked in partnership with his brother William Cary, a scientific instrument maker, known as J. & W. Cary. The Cary brothers moved their business to 86 St. James’s Street in about 1820, leaving their former premises at 181 Strand to John Cary’s sons George (c. 1788-1859) and John Jr. (1791 – 1852) who in turn produced a variety of globes under the name G. & J. Cary from 1821 to about 1850. George Frederick Cruchley, a map seller, took over a portion of the Cary business and produced maps and globes from 1850 to about 1876.

Beginning in 1791, the Cary firm offered their celestial globes in four sizes: 3.5, 9, 12 and 21 inches in diameter, and added an 18-inch pair in 1817. They offered these globes on a variety of styles of stands. The 12-inch celestial globe dated 1800, offered here, employs the traditional depictions of constellations as people, animals and objects. For the customer who preferred the emerging style of showing only the stars without the figures, Cary also produced a schematic celestial globe.

Read more about the firm on our Guide to Globe Makers.

Cartouche: CARY’S/ NEW CELESTIAL GLOBE./ ON WHICH/ are correctly laid down upwards of 3500 Stars/ Selected from the most accurate observations and calculated for the year 1800./ With the extent of each Constellation precisely defined/ by Mr. GILPIN of the ROYAL SOCIETY.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally restored and revarnished, with the usual remaining expected light toning, wear and restorations to minor scattered cracks and abrasions. Portion of cartouche where J. & W. Cary name would ordinarily appear very darkened, not legilble. Overall retains a golden antique tone with brightly colored constellations. Stand generally very good with the usual wear and shrinkage. Compass very good with the usual wear and toning to compass paper.


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. 293.

Dekker, Elly and Peter van der Krogt. Globes from the Western World. London: Zwemmer, 1993. pp. 118, 122-123.

Fordham, Sir Herbert George. John Cary, Engraver, Map, Chart and Print-Seller and Globe-Maker. Cambridge University Press,1925.

Lamb, Tom and Collins, Jeremy. The World in Your Hands: An Exhibition of Globes and Planetaria. London: Christie’s, 1994. p. 64.

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Wood, Mahogany