MAGNIFICENT 18TH-CENTURY PLANETARIUM BY JOHN HANDSFORD
40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed
- SIGNED ON THE ENGRAVED SILVERED DRUM PLATE "MADE FOR RICH.D ALDRIDGE, ESQ. BY JOHN HANDSFORD, BRISTOL."
A very rare 18th century planetarium, silvered drum plate engraved with "Principal Affectations of the Planets", tables of the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, and their details such as distance from the sun, periods, etc., as well as tables for the satellites of Saturn and Jupiter, and finely engraved zodiac calendar scale at border; plate mounted onto drum with geared mechanism, the whole turned by a manual hand-crank with ivory handle. Central coppered brass sun with silvered engraving of sun's face, five planetary arms with ivory planets and satellites, 1 1/2 inch terrestrial globe with 12 hand-colored engraved paper gores, the earth and moon rotating on separate geared mechanism with 2 rotating discs, showing the phases of the moon, the moon's path, and the time of day. With a multitude of accessories including a high and low watermark tide plate, an illuminating lamp, a reflecting mirror, a horizon plate, and more. The whole mounted onto a gilded brass tripod stand with cabriole legs terminating in scroll feet, together measuring 15 3/4 inches in height. Housed in the original oak carrying case (18 x 19 x 18 1/2 in) with original accessory tray (plush lining worn), and brass carrying handles.
Christie's South Kensington, 1997, lot 24
A MAGNIFICENT AND FINELY DETAILED PLANETARIUM, CUSTOM MADE FOR ITS ORIGINAL OWNER. Little is know about Richard Aldridge, for whom this instrument was made, other than the fact that he was a banker in Bristol, and that his name appears on the subscriber lists of several books written during the period, including Benjamin Donne's An Essay on Mechanical Geometry, Chiefly Explanatory of a set of Schemes and Models, 1796 and Collinson's The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset, 1791.