8 July 1999
A LATE-17TH CENTURY GERMAN GILT BRASS CELESTIAL GLOBE IN A LEATHER CASE
signed 'Opera Io. B. HOMANNI S.C.M. Geographi Norinbergae.'
This fine gilt brass celestial globe is formed from two hemispheres held together by a pair of bayonet catches. The inner rims are strengthened by brass strips. It is fully, and carefully, engraved with constellation figures, and many prominent stars are indicated by asterisms. The inclusion of the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn, is most unusual. It lies between Canis maior and Canis minor, and is a modern constellation, seemingly first appearing in a German astronomical work of 1564. This metal globe gives an 'outside' view of the heavens.
The globe is contained in a leather case formed from two hemispheres, hinged together. The tooling on the dark leather outer is in eight panels, with floral motifs between. On the inside is another view of the heavens, this time with the constellations as seen from a person on the Earth. The design, printed from a copperplate engravng, is hand coloured. The maker's name is in a cartouche.
2 in. (6.4 cm.) diam.; 3 in. (7.4 cm.) diam. of case
Rothschild inv. no. AR2641.
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1903 Theresianumgasse Inventory, p. 90, no. 212
E. Zinner, Deutsche und niederlndische astronomische Instrumente des 11.-18. Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1956, p. 388.
Johann Baptist Homann was born in 1664 at Kamlach in Swabia, and he learnt copperplate engraving at Nuremberg. He specialised in map-making, and produced a geographical atlas. His great work was published after his death in 1724 at Nuremberg.
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