360
360
A very rare pair of 3-inch miniature table globes, James Ferguson, London
circa 1755
Estimate
20,00040,000
LOT SOLD. 25,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
360
A very rare pair of 3-inch miniature table globes, James Ferguson, London
circa 1755
Estimate
20,00040,000
LOT SOLD. 25,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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A very rare pair of 3-inch miniature table globes, James Ferguson, London
circa 1755
each globe with twelve engraved and hand-painted gores, the terrestrial inscribed in a cartouche A New GLOBE of the Earth by James Ferguson, and below the cartouche J Mynde sc, the celestial with depictions of the constellations, each with an engraved brass meridian and polar hour ring or sector, engraved and coloured horizon ring with calendar and zodiacal indications, on four baluster turned supports joined by stretchers; togeher with a contemporary ebonised box with domed lid and frieze drawer, the box stamped with the initials 'BT' flanking the escutcheon
13cm. high; 5¼in.
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Provenance

Most probably a gift from Benning Wentworth, Royal Governor of New Hampshire to Benjamin Thompson, later Count Rumford (1753-1814).

Gifted by Count Rumford to Samuel Williams (1743-1817), Third Hollis Professor of Natural Philosophy, Harvard, circa 1775.

Catalogue Note

Benjamin Thompson was born in Woburn, Massachusettes and was schooled locally prior to studying at Harvard University. In 1774 he was commissioned as a Major in the local regiment following which he was breifly imprisoned for sympathising with the Brirtish though was shortly thereafter released due to lack of evidence. He then travelled to Boston where he remained until 1776 and upon the surrender of Boston to the rebels he sailed to London where he entered Government. Holding a number of posts he was then appointed a Lieutenant-Colonel of the King's American Dragoons and returned to America following the British Defeat at Yorktown in 1781. Upon the announcement of peace in 1783, he travelled to Europe entering the Bavarian Government and gaining the position of Minister of War. With occasional sejourns to England between 1798 and 1802 he drew up the proposals to establish the Royal Institution which he helped run until his return to Europe, where he remained until his death in France.

A very similar pair of globes, thought to be the only other pair of this size on stands, as opposed to numerous pocket globes by Ferguson, are in the collection of The British Library Map Collection, Inv. Maps C.3.a, and illustrated in John R Millburn, Wheelwright of the Heavens - The Life and Work of James Ferguson, FRS, p. 88, fig. 28.

James Ferguson, (1710-1776), was born in Scotland and, from an early age, was interested in all things mechanical and astronomical. As a young man he made a living by repairing clocks and machinery. He was also a talented artist and by 1734 he was painting portaits in Edinburgh. However, he continued with his interest in science and by the 1740's he was in London painting portraits and presenting scientific papers. In 1748 he began teaching and lecturing on astronomy and science. He started globe making after acquiring the copper plates for printing gores from Mary Senex, widow of the late John Senex in 1755. It included all the gore sizes apart from the 3-inch globe. For this reason he designed and made a 3-inch pocket globe of his own. In 1757 the globe making business was transferred to Benjamin Martin. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1763.

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