Dublin: George Herbert, 1854.
2nd Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003108
8vo (mm). viii, 104 pp., including half-title and 7 plates. [Bound with:] GALL, James. An Easy Guide to the Constellations; with a miniature atlas of the stars. Edinburgh / London: Gall and Inglis / Houlston and Wright, [1855?]. 52 pp., 12 plates, including 25 maps and key plates of the constellations some printed double-sided and in blue, some within the pagination. Pages uncut. Two works in one volume. Contemporary half calf over marbled boards, gilt-lettered spine label (extremities rubbed, spine ends chipped with loss, joints cracked and upper board almost detached, corners scuffed and bumped). Internally generally clean and fresh, with just a bit of marginal dust-soiling and occasional spotting. ----
Two popular-science books on the moon and the stars (for second work). The book by the Irish theologian and astronomer Josiah Crampton is of particular interest as it contains a few plates showing rather fictive lunar scenery among them one of a "crater" having a brick-walled plain with a central brick-peak (plate V). At the time when Crampton was finishing his book, another astronomer, James Nasmyth, was working on the fundamental problem to transform the telescopic 'bird-eye' views to reasonable moonscapes, "a fact that is brought into relief in a letter to Josiah Crampton... Upon receiving a gift-copy of Crampton's book, and seeing therein the ways in which he depicted hypothetical views of someone standing upon the moon's surface ... Nasmyth wrote: I am glad to observe you have made an attempt to realize lunar landscape and scenery, as it would appear were we 'there to see.' I also have done something in this way. I cannot imagine any subject more glorious to feast the mind's eye upon, than to wander, in thought, amid the fearfully grand scenery in the moon; and any one who is artist enough can do so, from what is revealed to us by the telescope; in fact, this is to me the chief charm of the pursuit---not an indulgence of 'mere wild fancy', but a most legitimate exercise of the reason, and most legitimate powers of the imagination... Although Nasmyth is referring to his own moonscapes in praise of Crampton's, Nasmyth's insistence on their legitimacy extends to his photographs published in 1874, as well. In that work, he also contends that his photographic depictions of lunar landscapes are not mere fantasy, or what we might today call, science fiction." (Carmen P. Gonzalez, Selene's Two Faces: From the Daguerreotype to Spacecraft Imaging: A History of the Visualization of the Moon, Brill, Leiden, 2018, p. 168-69) - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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