A pocket globe, of typical form, the terrestrial globe with engraved hand-colored gores, having holes at the poles but no axis pins (as issued). The globe is contained within a spherical conforming case opening into two concave hemispheres — one with an applied engraved hand-colored celestial chart of the Northern Sky, the other with an applied Southern Sky celestial chart. The outside of the case is covered with black pebbled fish skin and the rims of the case are painted red. The two halves are joined with a brass hinge and close with two brass hook-and-eyelet closures.
The terrestrial globe is lightly colored in places in tones of pink and green; the celestial hemispheres in the case are more strongly colored in red, green, yellow, brown and gray. The equator is graduated and numbered. The ecliptic is graduated but not numbered. California is shown as a peninsula. Mexico and Central America are labeled “Mexico or New Spain.” The French portion of what is now the central United States is colored green. The Antarctic lacks cartography and is labeled “Ice Sea.” Australia is called “New Holland” and the northwestern portion of North America is labeled “Unknown Parts;” the outlines of both are incomplete, reflecting the geographic information available at the time. Trade winds and monsoons are indicated by arrows. The route of the voyage of Admiral Anson, who circumnavigated the globe in the 1740s, is indicated.
Another example of this globe in a fish skin case is in the collection of the Stewart Museum and pictured in their catalog of early globes, Sphaerae Mundi. Authors Dahl and Gauvin note that this was Hill’s first pocket globe and “one of the most popular mid-eighteenth-century English pocket globes, judging by the number of surviving copies in European and North American collections. This globe was also sold mounted on a stand and is found at times mounted on orrerries.” An example of the terrestrial globe — along with a companion celestial globe, both mounted on unusual miniature ivory stands — is shown in The World in Your Hands.
Read more about Nathaniel Hill in our Guide to Globe Makers.
The plates of Hill’s 1754 pocket globe were revised and reissued, most notably, by John Newton, the founder of the Newton family of globe makers business that continued well into the 19th century. In 1783, he launched production of Newton globes with versions of this Hill pocket globe and case — one co-published with the engraver William Palmer (fl. 1765-1803) and one under his Newton’s own imprint soon thereafter. Newton previously had apprenticed with Thomas Bateman (the initial successor to Nathaniel Hill, and Hill’s cartographic plates). Newton added recent discoveries by Captain Cook to Hill’s pocket globe. A Newton pocket globe issued in 1800 is shown on our web site.
The heyday of the pocket globe was Georgian period England, from the early 18th century to about 1840, where they were mainly made as novelty items for English aristocrats interested in geography and astronomy. Read more about the history and development of pocket globes.
Rococo Cartouche: A/ NEW/ Terrestrial/ GLOBE/ Earth/ by/ Nath. Hill/ 1754.
Condition: Globe and celestial hemispheres fine, with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling. Varnish on globe variously and irregularly worn and mottled. Few very tiny chips at poles. Case very good, with the usual light toning, wear, shrinkage, very slight cracking.
Dahl, Edward H. and Gauvin, Jean-François. Sphaerae Mundi: Early Globes at the Stewart Museum. Canada: Septentrion and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000. pp. 93-95.
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. pp. 355, 441-442.
Lamb, Tom and Collins, Jeremy. The World in Your Hands: An Exhibition of Globes and Planetaria. London: Christie’s, 1994. p. 67 and items 5.10/11.