Moon by James Nasmyth

1849 in Kent
James Hall Nasmyth

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Moon by James Nasmyth, 1849. Moon, whole face; paper in seven sections. Produced from hundreds of observations,
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Painted full face of the Moon by James Nasmyth, 1849. Painted on paper in seven sections, pasted onto a further paper support.

James Nasmyth started observing the moon in the 1840s, while running a revolutionary engineering business in Manchester. He tried to use the most up-to-date lunar map published by German astronomers but found the two-dimensional line drawing did not equate easily with the three-dimensional surface he observed. He therefore produced this extraordinary painting, from hundreds of observations, focusing on the light and shadow created by the moon’s pitted surface. Exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851, the painting won him a medal and the attention of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.


Object Number:
paint and paper
overall (framed): 2100 mm x 2120 mm x 700 mm,
University of Oxford Observatory

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