Detail from one of the pocket globes (c) Leon Day Images

Herschel Museum of Astronomy

Debbie James,
Beecroft Bequest case study
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath has acquired a pair of small pocket globes by the London workshop of Dudley Adams together with their original chagreen cases and brass display stands.

These exquisite objects epitomise the Enlightenment, as they blend the artistic skills of the cartographer with the expansion of scientific knowledge, and give an accessible overview of the world and the heavens as they were perceived towards the closing years of the 18th century.

It is unusual to find an original pair dating to the 18th rather than the 19th century, as pocket globes have long been considered desirable objects to collectors.
It is likely that William Herschel would have owned similar instruments and used them to illustrate his learned talks. These are particularly fine examples, in excellent condition.

Among the constellations and maps of the heavens visible on the spheres themselves, is the massive 20 foot telescope constructed by the astronomer.

The provenance of these particular globes is recorded as they are depicted in a family portrait of the of the Birmingham industrialist John Miles who was an astronomer and member of the Lunar Society.

We are grateful to the Art Fund, the Beecroft Bequest and The William Herschel Society for supporting this important acquisition.

Debbie James is the curator of the Herschel Museum of Astronomy

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The Beecroft Bequest