Auction 137, Lot 903

"Atlas of Astronomy", Johnston, Alexander K.

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1869 (dated)


Color: Printed Color

7.5 x 11 inches
19.1 x 27.9 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. Johnston 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 complete with 21 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: " We have seen no popular atlas of astronomy to compare with this volume. The illustrations […] 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 half calf with gilt-embossed front cover and spine. 21 double-page plates attached with backstraps and 70 pp. text.


Condition: A

Maps are in near fine condition, with short centerfold separations on a few, primarily confined to blank margin. Library bookplate on back of title page. Covers are lightly soiled with bumped corners, and spine is rubbed and starting.

Estimate: $250 - $325

Sold for: $325

Closed on 9/14/2011