Portrait mezzotint print from engraving of Bird John, 1776

Made:
1776 in London
maker:
Valentine Green
artist:
John Lewis

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Portrait mezzotint print from engraving, 'JOHN BIRD of LONDON (1709-1776), 'Who furnished the Chief Observatories of the World, with the most Capital Astronomical Instruments divided by him after an improved method of his own ...', began as a cloth weaver but later turned to instrument making and became 'the great mathematical instrument maker. In 1749 he was given a grant of £500 by the Board of Logitude to make a Quadrant based on an earlier quadrant he had made for the Royal Observatory. Lewis Pinxit, engraved and published by Valentine Green, engraver to his Majesty, & to the Elector Palatine, Sailsbury Street, Strand c1776 [2nd state][London]. Print, mezzotint, [cut to] platemark 35.5x25.4cm, framed, portrait, John Bird (c 1709-1776), HL to L, seated at table with curtain backdrop, arm resting on his diagram of a mural quadrant, the Greenwich Brass Mural Quadrant; described in his The Method of Constructing Mural Quadrants, 1768, also on table.

John Bird made several large observatory instruments, and some quadrants for Captain Cook's voyage in 1769. His instruments have a peculiar feature: the scales are

divided not only in 90 degrees per right angle, but in 96 divisions. In the engraving he is shown with a beam compass and a drawing of a mural arc, possibly the one now in the Museum's collections.

On display

Science Museum: Science City

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Related people

Details

Category:
Art
Object Number:
1857-305
Materials:
mezzotint engraving, paper
Measurements:
overall - original print: 367 mm x 255 mm
overall - w/ lining: 390 mm x 287 mm
type:
print
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • visual and verbal communication
credit:
Frodsham, C.

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.