The (plaster) Moon (1873)

The Moon; Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite 1873
The Moon; Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1873). Photograph (probably a photogravure) from the first edition of the classic and influential text on lunar geology by James Nasmyth and James Carpenter. | src Jeschke van Vliet Auktionen
The Moon; Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1873) by James Nasmyth and James Carpenter.
The Moon; Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1873) by James Nasmyth and James Carpenter.
The Moon; Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1873) by James Nasmyth and James Carpenter.
The Moon; Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1873) by James Nasmyth and James Carpenter. | src Jeschke van Vliet Auktionen

The Moon; Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1873). With 46 text illustrations, and 25 plates on 24 leaves, comprising 12 mounted Woodburytypes of lunar models, 6 photogravures, 4 autotypes, 2 lithographs, and one chromolithograph. First edition of the classic and influential text on lunar geology by James Nasmyth (1808-1890) and James Carpenter. It was thanks to Nasmyth’s superior talent for visual communication that this book held the misconception that the lunar craters were volcanic for almost 100 years. It was not until 1969, when the Apollo 11 space mission brought back geological samples from the moon, that the impact theory gained credibility and the volcanic hypothesis was finally abandoned. – The book was one of the first to be illustrated with photomechanical prints, praised by a contemporary reviewer as one of the “truest and most striking representations of natural objects”, although the illustrations are not actual photographs of the Moon. The book is the result of decades of studies Nasmyth, a retired industrial engineer and amateur astronomer, made of the moon with a large telescope of his own design. He made numerous studies and maps of the moon, recording its topographical features with extraordinary clarity and precision. Nasmyth and Carpenter pointed the camera not at the lunar surface itself, but at a series of hand-made plaster models based on these drawings. It was already possible to photograph the Moon, but the highly magnified views they sought could only be achieved using plaster models photographed outdoors in glaring light, both to replicate the oblique angle of the sun’s rays on the lunar surface and to reveal the subtle topographical variations of the model’s surface. – Nasmyth’s first drawings of the moon were made as early as 1842 and were first exhibited in Edinburgh in 1850. The first public presentation of photographs of Nasmyth’s models took place at the Manchester Photographic Society exhibition in 1856. – This edition contains seven different prints by six printers, including two different variants of the Woodburytype. [quoted from Jeschke van Vliet]

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