MORDEN, ROBERT (c.1669-1703), William Berry (1639-1718) and Philip Lea (1683-1700)
MORDEN, ROBERT (c.1669-1703), William Berry (1639-1718) and Philip Lea (1683-1700)
MORDEN, ROBERT (c.1669-1703), William Berry (1639-1718) and Philip Lea (1683-1700)
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MORDEN, ROBERT (c.1669-1703), William Berry (1639-1718) and Philip Lea (1683-1700)
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MORDEN, ROBERT (c.1669-1703), William Berry (1639-1718) and Philip Lea (1683-1700)


MORDEN, ROBERT (c.1669-1703), William Berry (1639-1718) and Philip Lea (1683-1700)
The earliest obtainable pair of English globes.

The terrestrial: made up of twelve engraved, hand-coloured paper gores and two circular polar calottes, the titular cartouche A New TERRESTRIAL GLOBE. Made by Rt Morden. Wm Berry. Ph Lea. And Sold at their Shops at the Atlas in Cornhill, at ye Globe at Cheringcross, and at ye Atlas & [...] in Cheapside London, with a second cartouche To the Reader..., graduated equator, ecliptic and meridian through the Azores, the continents decorated with animals and peoples, the seas with ships, sea monsters and rhumb lines, routes of the circumnavigations of Sir Francis Drake and Sir Thomas Cavendish; no Antarctic continent, Australia partially delineated to West and North, some of van Diemen's land given, California as an Island, no Western nor Northern coasts to Canada, Southern Greenland as a series of Islands, China with rivers and major cities to the East of the Great Wall, peninsula of Korea;

The celestial: made up of twelve engraved, hand-coloured paper gores and two circular polar calottes, the cartouche A New CELESTIAL GLOBE. Made by Rt Morden. Wm Berry. Ph Lea. And Sold at their Shops at the Atlas in Cornhill, at ye Globe at Cheringcross, and at ye Atlas & Hercules in Cheapside London, magnitude table pasted to the right of Auriga, the axis through the celestial pole, graduated equator and ecliptic, the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds labelled, Cor Caroli marked with heart and coronet underneath Ursus Major, a novæ in Cygnus and Cetus also labelled, the stars picked out in gilt paint and shown to six orders of magnitude, a total of 62 stars and three star groups named, 48 Ptolemaic constellations and four of the non-Ptolemaic constellations drawn, two of the southern constellations and the twelve southern constellations of Plancius drawn;

Each globe supported in a graduated brass meridian ring, with a brass, graduated hour circle above the pole with hand-pointer, fitting in a horizon ring with engraved calendrical scales on paper with 32 compass points and signs of the zodiac, months divided into days for Julian and Gregorian calendars, on oak stands of six turned legs terminating in bun feet, united with cross stretchers bearing a moulded platform and meridian support; the celestial retaining original compass fitted onto moulded base; the terrestrial with engraving to edge of meridian ring PRESENTED TO ST MARYS LODGE BY BRO. W.S.B. NORTHOVER 1910

21 in. (53 cm.) high; 14¼ in. (36 cm.) (2)
Presented to St. Mary's Masonic Lodge, Bridport by Walter S.B. Northover in 1910.
Emma Perkins, 'The Seventeenth-Century Terrestrial Globe by Morden, Berry and Lea', Imago Mundi, vol. 71, 2019, pp.51-64, no.1.

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Lot Essay


The Globes is [sic] the first studie a learner ought to undertake: for without a competent knowledge therein he will never be able to understand any author either in astronomy, astrology, navigation, or trigonometry.

(Joseph Moxon, A Tutor to Astronomie and Geographie, or, An Easie and Speedy Way to Know the use of Both the Globes, Coelestial and Terrestrial (London, 1659), 3r.)

Joseph Moxon (1627-1691), one of the pre-eminent globemakers in mid-seventeenth-century London, was adamant in giving his table globes imperative place in the gentleman-scholar’s library. These large-format celestial and terrestrial globes were indeed sophisticated instruments that could simulate and explain various cosmological phenomena: from the hour at which the sun would rise and set relative to any location on the earth, to the difference in local time between longitudes, even to the seasonal variations in the length of day and night. These calculations were performed thanks to an ingenious series of mechanisms fitted around the globes, the topography and cosmography already accurate to the latest discoveries of the day: the hour circle with a dial was fixed to the pole and could be adjusted to mark time at different longitudes when the globe was spun; the brass meridian ring allowed the globe to rotate relative to the fixed horizon ring and adjust for latitudes; whilst the horizon ring had engraved and hand-coloured, graduated designs outlining the individual days, months, and zodiacs of the year, allowing for annual simulations. These seventeenth-century table globes were an incredibly fine and precise technology; they show an accuracy and ingenuity that epitomise the early-modern empirical approach to the observable world.

Robert Morden (d.1703; fl. c.1669-1703) and William Berry (1639-1718, fl. c.1671-1708) were the next generation of globe makers after Joseph Moxon in London; both indeed learned their trade in apprenticeships to Moxon. Robert Morden set up shop in 1671 at the Atlas on Cornhill, Joseph Moxon’s old trade address. Morden, like Moxon, published pamphlets accompanying his scientific instruments; his Geography Rectified, or, A Description of the World (London, 1680), made clear his commitments to geographical accuracy: to Rectify ‘all former geographies diligently compared with the more accurate observations and discoveries of late years’ (Morden, Geography Rectified, 1680, A3r-v). These scientific manuals often included instructions for the use and understanding of the terrestrial and celestial globe; a diagram of an early-modern terrestrial globe in Benjamin Martin’s Description and Use of Both the Globes, the Armillary Sphere, and Orrery (London, c.1670) gives a good rendition of a globe in fully-functioning condition.

Incredibly, the pair of globes we have here, from St. Mary’s Lodge, have survived in working condition. Even the hour circle still persists fixed to the terrestrial and celestial poles. The meridian rings still rotate allowing the globes to tilt latitudinally, and the engraved and hand-coloured paper gores and horizon ring show minimal tears and fading: most of the colour survives and the designs and numbers are clearly legible. Even more astonishing is the survival of a contemporary compass fitted to the base of the celestial globe. Extant, comparative examples of Morden, Berry, and Lea’s globes are few and far between: the Whipple Museum in Cambridge has a terrestrial globe (inv.2691); and the Royal Museums Greenwich have one terrestrial (inv.GLB0164) and two celestial globes (inv.GLB0155; inv.GLB0165). None of these have surviving hour circles (let alone a surviving compass), and all are in comparatively worse states of deterioration – the paper gores smudged and soiled, and the cartouches ripped and variously illegible. Morden and Berry’s previous iteration of the terrestrial globe (c.1673), before Philip Lea (d.1700; fl. 1683-1700) joined the venture, has been offered twice at auction, but always without hour circle and without its accompanying celestial pair. The globes from St. Mary’s were gifted to the masonic lodge in 1910, and remained in situ in the assembly hall for over a century. They were placed in an elevated position and left untouched, accounting for their astonishingly pristine condition. The survival of this pair of globes is exceptional and presents a unique opportunity to acquire a working pair of seventeenth-century table globes.

The production of these large-scale table globes was an expensive venture. Globe makers frequently entered joint collaborations; Robert Morden and William Berry published ‘An advertisement about a new size of globes rectified’ in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1674 for ‘a new size of globes about 15 inches diameter, celestial and terrestrial’ (Philosophical Transactions, 1674, 9:40). Philip Lea became Morden’s apprentice in 1675 and then set up his own shop at the Atlas and Hercules in Cheapside, on the corner with Friday Street, in 1683 – his shop and name are also credited on the celestial and terrestrial globe cartouches. The inventory of Lea’s assets, made after his death in 1700, lists:

'one third part or share of the two sise [sic] of globe plates between Wm. Berry and Robt. Mordent valued at £10.0s.0d.'

(Sarah Tyacke, London Map-Sellers, 1660-1720: A Collection of Advertisements for Maps Placed in the London Gazette, 1668-1719, with Biographical Notes on the Map-Sellers (Tring, Map Collector Publications Ltd, 1978), 122).

Lea took a third shard in Morden and Berrry’s table globes venture sometime after 1683, when he established his own trade practice. His inventory values the third share of the copper plates for the celestial, terrestrial, and horizon ring at £10, a substantial sum for the time. The death of Lea in 1700 clearly dates the globe pair in the later half of the seventeenth century, between 1683 (the opening of Lea’s shop at the Atlas and Hercules in Cheapside) and his death in 1700.

In exceptional condition too is the dedicatory cartouche to the reader pasted on the terrestrial globe:

To the Reader

Think it not Strange, that the Description of this Globe differs so much from all other Globes extent; for indeed there is not any part of ye Earth wherein we haue not made a considerable altercacion. Asia & America is all new, & wholy different from wt was ever yet drawn upon a Globe; ye Eastern part of Asia Rectified more then 10. degrees: & many places, in Europe, Africa, & America, more then 5 degrees: many eminent Cittys & towns inserted wch are wholy Omitted in others: ye Longitudes, & Lattitudes, of most places being new corrected & adjusted; not only by late discoveries but also by Trigonometrical calculation. & the more accurate Celestiall Observations of Modern Authors.

The dedication advertises the strong commitment of the globe makers to prioritising geographical accuracy based on the latest contemporary discoveries and maps. Just so, California is an island in line with contemporary, late-seventeenth-century practice – Morden himself ‘corrected’ California’s geography in his Geography Rectified: ‘California, once esteemed a peninsula, now thought to be an island’ (Geography Rectified, 2nd edition, 1688, a2r). Neither did the globe makers shy away from omitting coastlines when geography was uncertain: the coast of Australia is still that reproduced on maps since Abel Tasman’s voyage of 1644, where he discovered Van Diemen’s Land far South of the continent (Tasmania) and part of the West Coast of New Zealand. This version of the continent, with large parts of the southern and eastern coasts still uncharted, and an uncertain connection between the coasts Carpentaria and New Guinea, was current until the second half of the eighteenth century. Antarctica is entirely omitted, going against the assumptive inclusions of a Terra Australis Incognita [an unknown land of the south] based on the Ptolemaic tradition; Morden and Berry affirmed in their ‘Address to the Reader’, opening William Leybourn’s Introduction to Astronomy and Geography (London, 1675), that ‘should we compare the geographical tables or charts of the antients with the more perfect discoveries of our later times, what defects and errours shall we there discover’ (Morden and Berry, ‘Address to the Reader’, in William Leybourn, Introduction to Astronomy and Geography (London, 1675), A2r-v).

The Morden, Berry, and Lea globes are a remarkable survival of a rudely English, empirical tradition, crystalised in the establishment of the Royal Society in 1660 – many of Morden, Berry, and Lea’s clients, unsurprisingly, were in fact Fellows of the Royal Society, including Robert Hooke and Samuel Pepys; Joseph Moxon himself was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1678 (Sarah Tyake, London Map-Sellers, 1660-1720: A Collection of Advertisements for Maps Placed in the London Gazette, 1668-1719, with Biographical Notes on the Map Sellers (Tring, Map Collector Publications Ltd, 1978)). There are indeed many Anglocentric details on the globes, brilliantly analysed in Emma Perkin’s study of the Whipple’s Morden, Berry and Lea terrestrial globe. The terrestrial globe, for her, is a cultural testament to the renewed optimism in Restoration England, enthusiastically engaging its efforts in maritime exploration. There is certainly a sense of curiosity and pride in the English, maritime tradition: hence the charted routes of Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish’s circumnavigations, voyages undertaken about a century ago in 1577-1580 and 1586-1588 respectively; hence also the inclusion of the ‘Supposed Strait of Anian’ on the northwestern coast of Canada, a rare ‘Supposed’ detail in a terrestrial globe priding itself on accuracy. The ‘Anian’ straits were the hypothetical western exit of the fabled northwestern passage linking the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, tirelessly searched for by English explorers and traders (Perkins, ‘The Seventeenth-Century Terrestrial Globe by Morden, Berry, and Lea’, Imago Mundi, vol. 71, 2019, pp.51-64). The celestial globe includes the new ‘Cor Caroli’ star name, shining below the Ursa Major (Great Bear); the Cor Caroli star, meaning ‘Charles’s Heart’, was named by Sir Charles Scarborough, the physician to Charles II, who claimed that the star appeared particularly bright on the night of Charles’s return to England in 1660. The name first appeared on a star map by Francis Lamb in 1673. The Morden, Berry, and Lea celestial globe here features the Cor Caroli star at its greatest level of magnitude, the bright gilding surrounded by the coloured design of a heart and regal coronet.

The engravings provide a variety of idiosyncratic and interesting details: ships and sea-monsters in the Atlantic and Pacific; rhinos, elephants, lions, and ostriches in Africa; elk and boars in Northern America; and a few native peoples holding spears in northwestern Canada; and a group with bows and clubs, alongside their huts and hammock in Brazil. These depictions testify to a latent curiosity amongst the early-modern, English public in other peoples and cultures, as well as the various flora and fauna in exotic, far-flung places. The ethnographic depictions of the native populations in Brazil and Canada in the Morden, Berry, and Lea terrestrial globe are moreover a degree more sympathetic than those of earlier cartographers, who often represented the natives of Brazil as cannibals, for instance. The Morden, Berry, and Lea globes are certainly exceptional survivals from an age of scientific and maritime curiosity in England. Although closely linked to imperial ambitions and projects, the globes nonetheless evidence a dedicated commitment to empirical process and accuracy. For Robert Morden at least, the burgeoning project of English maritime hegemony was certainly coupled with a great deal of responsibility. On the one hand the imperative of pious education, but on the other, the rejection of subjugation and slavery. He concludes his Geography Rectified with a powerful plea for the humane treatment of the indigenous peoples of the colonies and an attack on slavery; he condemns the subjugation of those ‘detained in cruel slavery in our own Plantations’ and advocates for a pious assimilation, ‘using Justice and Honesty […] it is more honour to overcome Paganism in one [man], than to destroy a thousand Pagans; for an extirpation of the Natives is rather a supplanting, than planting a New Colony.’ (Geography Rectified, 4th ed., 1700, p.626).

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