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Samuel Leigh's Urania's Mirror

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Celestial charts by Samuel Leigh. From Urania's Mirror, or a View of the Heavens. London: S. Leigh, [1823]. Engraved charts mounted on card and with tissue backing. Original hand color. 7 3/4 x 5 3/8. Very good condition, though with a few tears to the tissue backing. Ref.: Peter Whitfield, The Mapping of the Heavens, pp. 112-13.

A charming and ingenious series of celestial charts showing the constellations as known in the early nineteenth century. The constellations are each depicted with a delightful zodiac vignette image, the stars also noted, and the entire card is highlighted with bright hand color. What is of particular interest and novelty, though, is the fact that the major stars are also indicated with a pierced hole in the card, letting the star locations shine through when the card is held to a light. Besides the many standard figures of the zodiac, which had long been used for mnemonic devices, many current figures that are no longer used are shown, such as a printing press and an "aerostatique" balloon. Unusual and most attractive.


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