Catalog Archive
Auction 132, Lot 728

"Atlas of Astronomy", Johnston, Alexander K.

Subject: Atlases - Celestial

Period: 1855 (dated)


Color: Printed Color

11 x 14 inches
27.9 x 35.6 cm

This atlas was a collaboration between two distinguished figures in British astronomy and cartography - the cartographer Alexander Keith Johnston and the astronomer and academician John Russell Hind. Johnston was one of the most important British mapmakers of the nineteenth century. His notable works included the National Atlas of General Geography (1843), The Physical Atlas (1846), the Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena (1856), and the first physical globe, which won a number of medals at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Alexander was appointed Geographer Royal for Scotland in 1843. Hind was Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac and is notable for being one of the early discoverers of asteroids and several variable stars, and the first nova of modern times.

The atlas is comprised of 18 beautifully rendered plates in very early and particularly bright chromolithograph. They include various basic principles of planetary motion, the seasons, eclipses, the moon, the comets, nebula, and constellations. Our research found this contemporary review of the atlas and decided it was an apt description of this fine atlas. " We have seen no popular atlas of astronomy to compare with this volume. The illustrations are eighteen in number - lunar, solar, stellar; and are so constructed as to present to the eye a series of lessons in the most captivating of human studies, simple in outline and cumulative in result. To say that Mr. Hind's Atlas is the best thing of the kind is not enough - it has no competitor. - Athenoeum." Interestingly this atlas was published by William Blackwood and Sons - and not W. & A.K. Johnston. Hardbound in quarter calf with gilt-embossed front cover and spine.


Condition: A

Covers rubbed with spine chipped, endpapers with scattered foxing and an occasional spot in text, plates very good to fine.

Estimate: $300 - $400

Sold for: $220

Closed on 6/2/2010