Pocket Celestial Globe (SOLD)

For the man in the 18thC coffee house, there was one accessory that was absolutely de rigeur, to show that he was a true man of the Enlightenment and au fait with the latest discoveries in geographical exploration and astronomy: a pocket globe of the world in a shagreen case.

Most commonly, the globe itself was a terrestrial one, and the inside of the case depicted the stars. More rarely, for the benefit of stargazers, the globe was celestial and was housed in a brass meridian ring, which in turn was located in a fully detailed horizon ring in the case.

Sadly, very few of these globes have survived and the condition of the survivors is usually even worse than that of the full-size variety. I recently had the good fortune to come across a miraculously well-preserved specimen that has remained in almost perfect condition, both internally and externally. The globe itself is free from abrasions and distortions; the colours are fresh and the case is whole and retains all its delicate metal fitments.

It is a 3” globe, made by the noted firm of Newton of Fleet Street and dates from around 1810, the overall size of the case being roughly that of a large grapefruit.

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