Catalog Archive
Auction 161, Lot 44

"[Lot of 6] The Stars, in Six Maps, on the Gnomonic Projection", SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Subject: Celestial

Period: 1851 (published)


Color: Hand Color

10.3 x 10.9 inches
26.2 x 27.7 cm

The beginning of the nineteenth century saw a period of rapid market growth and innovation in the map publishing world. Increased literacy and public interest in new frontiers and colonies overwhelmed the market because it was oriented toward the small, affluent market of the previous century. With the intent to fill this void, The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) was founded in 1828 in London, by Lord Brougham and a group of men dedicated to the education of the aspiring working class and the Utilitarian ideal of 'Knowledge is Power.' The society produced an array of education materials, but the series of maps was one of their most successful ventures. A number of engravers and printers were used to produce the maps, which eventually exceed 200 sheets, and continued to be published after the Society as a whole ceased to function.

This set of steel engraved celestial charts was produced by W. Newton from the catalogue of the Astronomical Society and revised by Rev. William Rutter Dawes. The six charts include two circumpolar and four centered on the solstices and equinoxes. They are presented on the gnomonic projection and include all the stars up to the sixth magnitude, or those that can been seen with the naked eye. The maps show the influence of both Pardies and Flamsteed. The geocentric constellations are shown in allegorical form that were designed by W. B. Clarke, engraved by J & C Walker and published by Charles Knight. Included with the charts are the title page and explanation sheet, complete as issued.

References: Kanas #

Condition: B+

Original pastel coloring with a few spots of foxing in the image. There is light toning and minor soiling confined to the blank margins.

Estimate: $240 - $300

Sold for: $100

Closed on 2/8/2017