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Scientific Art, Physics, Magnetism, Optics, Acoustics, James Reynolds, Antique Prints, Mid 19th Century (Sold)

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John Emslie (1813-75) (artist and engraver)
Acoustics, Popular Diagrams No. 31
Optics, Popular Diagrams No. 32
Magnetism, Popular Diagrams No. 34
from Illustrations of Natural History
James Reynolds, 174 Strand, London: c. 1850
Hand-colored prints on card
11 x 9 inches each

A group of three prints illustrating scientific principles of physics.

Acoustics illustrates, musical instruments and music notes, a diagram of the human ear, etc.

Optics illustrates lenses, refraction and reflection, eclipses,  a diagram of the human eye, etc.

Magnetism illustrates magnets, a compass, earth’s magnetic field,  scientific demonstration instruments, etc.

Product description continues below.


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.


Coakely, Frances. “John Emslie 1848.”  2004. (19 April 2005).

“Two Meteorological Maps, c. 1850.” Science & Society Picture Library.  2004. (19 April 2005).