CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

Celestial & Terrestrial Globes by Newton & Son

2 minute read

An extremely rare and important pair of 21-inch English globes by renowned cartographers John Newton and Son, one of the most important globe makers of early 19th-century England. Representing the terrestrial and celestial landscapes, these spheres rest in their gorgeous mahogany stands, with each displaying a rich patina. Newton and Son were also one of the few firms to combine instruments with globes. In these globes, compasses are set in the base of the stands to complete the design, while a tilting angle of 90 degrees on each globe makes for ease of viewing.

 

These globes are even more unusual for their size: not only were globes rarely crafted with a 21-inch diameter, but the surface area of a globe this size is an incredible 307% larger than that of a more common 12-inch globe. To own these globes was to have a wealth of information at one’s fingertips. Rendered in painstaking detail, each globe presents scientific understanding of the world and sky that would have been invaluable to all areas of business, including shipping, geography, and especially exploration.

Set into turned and carved tripartite stands, the globes feature engraved brass hour dials at each pole, graduated in hours in two directions, stamped brass meridian circles, and papered horizon rings with amplitude degrees. The terrestrial globe is finely marked with the latest discoveries of the period including indications for natural resources and other geographical elements. The celestial globe is graced with the constellations depicted as mythological figures, fantastic animals and scientific instruments. Since the days of antiquity, the constellations were shown on maps of the sky and celestial globes as people, animals and objects. This present example illustrates how their elaborate execution often dominated the cartography.

The terrestrial globe bears the inscription “Newton’s New and Improved Terrestrial Globe, Accurately Delineated from the observations of the most esteemed Navigators and Travellers, to the Present Time/ Manufactured by Newton & Son, 66 Chancery Lane & 3 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, London, Published 1st January 1857” in a plaque. The celestial globe is thusly marked: “New and Improved Newton’s Celestial Globe, On which all the Stars Nebulae and Clusters contained in the extensive Catalogue of the late F. Wollaston, F.R.S. are accurately laid down, their Right Ascensions & Declinations having been recalculated for the year 1830 by W. Newton/ Manufactured by Newton & Son, 66 Chancery Lane, London”.

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