Item #29304 [Hold to light translucent optical print] "Telescopic Appearance of the Moon" James Reynolds.
[Hold to light translucent optical print] "Telescopic Appearance of the Moon"
[Hold to light translucent optical print] "Telescopic Appearance of the Moon"

[Hold to light translucent optical print] "Telescopic Appearance of the Moon"

Drawn and Engraved by John Emshe. 174 Strand, London: James Reynolds 1846-1876. 11 1/8 inches by 9 inches. A lithograph on thin paper, tissue backed and affixed to a thicker mount, the center of which was made with a circular hole. This allows the viewer to see the engraving in normal light, and also with the application of light from behind, see it lit up and with a slightly brown/orange tint. It would be perfect for mounting in a lightbox. Overall light soiling, several small stains, corners worn/creased, and tear at the top just above the "PIC" in "TELESCOPIC." An original 19th century print, not a modern reprint. One ONLY of twelve different images from a printed set by Reynolds. Very Good. [29304]

"Popular interest in the natural world and cheap printing afforded by lithography enabled the successful publication of several different collections of visually attractive large format illlustrated cards. The London printer James Reynolds (1817-1876) published several atlases and collections of images for the popular audience. Many of his products were colored images printed on stiff card stock and meant to be used as simple didactic illustrations....I have seen several such translucent cards depicting the Moon..." (Manasek, p. 235)

"One of a set of 12 hand-tinted astronomical prints with an explanatory card. The publisher is identified on each print as J. Reynolds or James Reynolds of the Strand, London. These cards were first issued by Reynolds in 1846, although he and other publishers continued to produce them throughout the second half of the 19th century. They responded to a perceived market for popular science products and were intended for informal learning within the home. They could be bought in sets or singly and, at a price of 1 shilling, were affordable to middle class audiences. A number of the cards have tissue paper backings and holes in the card in order to allow the user to hold them up to the light and see the stars, planets or phases of the Moon displayed as light areas against a darker background. Several of the more detailed images were drawn and engraved by John Emslie, who also collaborated with Reynolds on another set of diagrams, "Illustrations of Natural Philosophy". Reynolds’ educational diagrams received a prize medal at the International Exhibition of 1862." (Description of item AST0051.3 at the Royal Museums Greenwich, unclear if theirs is a translucent example or not).

"The appearance of the Moon as seen by Lord Rosse's great telescope is thus descibed by Dr. Scoresby- 'It appeared like a Globe of Molten Silver, and ecery object of the extent of a hundred hards was quite visible. Edigices, therefore of the size of Yokr Minster might be easily perceived if they had existsed. But there was no appearance of anything of that nature; neither was there any indication of the existence of water of or an atmosphere. There was a vast number of extinct volcanoes, several mile sin breadth; through one of them there was a line in continuance of one, about 150 miles in length which ran in a straight direction, like a railway. The gneral appearance however, was like on vast run of nature." (this in type below the image).

These prints were produced for many years, in a variety of formats (translucent and not), until Reynold's death in 1876. The prints were even produced after that but by his sons as J. Reynolds & Sons and identifiable by the imprint.

Hold to light optical prints are prized by collectors, and are found in stereoviews and vue de optiques in our experience. This is the first example we've handled of this moon print, but this image is present in many museum collections.

Manasek, Francis J., "A Treatise on Moon Maps, Visual Studies on Paper, 1610-1910" (our example not illustrated in this reference work)


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