Lot 5
  • 5

HERSCHEL, JOHN FREDERICK WILLIAM

Estimate
10,000 - 15,000 USD
Sold
12,500 USD
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Description

  • An archive of letters to English Geologist Dr. William H. Fitton, and 3 autograph manuscripts treating mathematics and the election of the Royal Society's officers, August 31, 1827- August 9, 1829
  • paper, ink
7 autograph letters signed ("JFW Herschel" or "JFWH") in total 20 pages, and 3 undated autograph manuscripts, 6 pages in total, all ranging in size from 115 x 93 mm to 314 x 198 mm. 

Catalogue Note

"YOU WILL THINK ME A SAD DOG, BUT IN TRUTH I AM HARASSED. WHAT WITH MY BOOK, THE THIRD PART OF WHICH I HAVE WRITTEN AT LEAST 3 TIMES OVER AND WHICH, AFTER ALL, IS DONE MOST WRETCHEDLY, AND WHAT WITH SITTING UP STAR-GAZING THESE SUPERB NIGHTS..."

A fascinating correspondence with English Geologist Dr. William H. Fitton spanning from 1827-1830, discussing various publications, including the writing of his Discourse on Natural Philosophy; happenings of the Royal Society, including Sir Humphry Davy's resignation of his chair; and matters of the Geological Society amongst many other topics. The 3 autograph manuscripts consist first, of Herschel's views of the election of the Royal Society's officers; second, a large chart headed Tangent of Angles; and third, mathematical formulae and geometric diagrams.

John Frederick William Herschel was a renowned astronomer, mathematician, chemist, and photographer who discovered the ability of hyposulfite to be used as a fixing agent in photography, and coined the terms photography, positive, and negative. He published his famous treatise Discourse on Natural Philosophy in 1830, and made important advancements in the fields of optics and magnetism, as well as to the development of telescopes and microscopes. A prolific writer, he spent his later years building on the work of his famous father astronomer William Herschel, discovering 1,202 pairs of close double stars and 1,708 nebulae and clusters.

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