Auction 119, Lot 893

"Atlas Celeste de Flamsteed, Publie en 1776, Par J. Fortin…", Flamsteed/Fortin

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1795 (dated)


Color: Black & White

6 x 9 inches
15.2 x 22.9 cm

This important and highly desirable celestial atlas was originally produced by John Flamsteed (1646-1719), the first Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, and is complete with 30 of the most accurate and detailed star charts of the time. The original edition, being expensive, unwieldy and not aesthetically pleasing was reprinted and reduced in size by Jean Fortin in 1795 using Flamsteed's plates from his 1776 edition. This smaller, more affordable issue soon became the standard as numerous improvements were made including the addition of new constellations and more nebulae. Of the 30 plates, 26 are centered on the major constellations seen from Greenwich. The rest are from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and one showing the alignment of the main northern stars. 8vo. Original hardbound in quarter calf and marbled boards. Title page, ix, table of contents and 47 pp. of text and tables. Gilt title on spine. The 1776 edition contained few nebulae (following the Flamsteed tradition), but now many of the Messier objects have been added. In addition, several new constellations were added. The period between 1776 and 1790 had seen the invention of 5 new constellations, several honoring political patrons, and two in honor of William Hershcel, the discoverer of Uranus, and this edition contains all of them. If we compare the plate of the Orion/Taurus region with the corresponding plate in the 1776 atlas, we see that the "Harp of George" has been inserted beneath Taurus, and the "Telescope of Herschel" has been added between Orion's head and the horns of the Bull.


Condition: A

Text and charts good with the usual foxing. Covers with minor shelf wear. Corners bumped. Spine is slightly cracked at upper extremity and has a small wormhole. Some pencil notations inside front cover. Binding and signatures tight. Remarkable condition for it's age.

Estimate: $3,000 - $3,500

Sold for: $2,200

Closed on 5/9/2007