Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens. Richard Bloxam.
Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens
Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens
Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens
Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens
Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens
Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens

Urania’s Mirror, or, A View of the Heavens

London: Samuel Leigh, 1825. Complete set of 32 hand-colored engraved cards, measuring 7.75 x 5.5 inches, perforated to indicate position of stars, tissue guard mounted to verso of each card. Housed in original green and yellow card publisher’s box with hand-colored pictorial title mounted to lid, engraved pastedowns to sides of box, silk ribbon pull. Half-sheet of nineteenth-century manuscript astronomy notes laid into box. Without accompanying publisher’s guide (A Familiar Treatise on Astronomy). Lightest shelfwear to box, cards bright and fine.

Second edition of this innovative nineteenth-century set of astronomical cards, issued one year after the first edition, revised to depict additional stars. Each brightly hand-colored card depicts the mythological figures within a constellation, while strategic pinholes indicate the location of the stars, allowing a viewer to visualize their appearance in the sky when the card is held up to a light. (Few copies of Urania’s Mirror survive intact, as the cards frequently caught on fire.) A contemporary review in the Weekly Globe declared: “By this elegant and ingenious device, the study of astronomy is rendered not only familiar and amusing, but a knowledge of this sublime science is communicated at a glance more effectually than by a course of lectures.” The set depicts 79 constellations in all, with the final card (Hydra, Corvus, Centaurus, et al.) boasting the most on a single card at twelve. Although attributed to “a lady,” Urania’s Mirror was almost certainly designed by the Reverend Richard Bloxam, assistant master at Rugby School; the images are based on the illustrations in Alexander Jamieson’s 1822 Celestial Atlas. A fine set.

Price: $5,500.00

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