31 cm. (12,5 inch.) diameter celestial globe. Dedie Au Roy Par sontres humble tres obeissant Serviteur et fidel Sujet Desnos.(Dedicated to the King by his very humble very obedient faithful subject Desnos). Height 57 cm. Width 45 cm.



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SKU: 11996 CELESTIAL GLOBE | Desnos, Louis-Charles Categories: , , Tags: ,

A striking colourful celestial globe in excellent condition, where the papier-mache copperplate gores have been cleaned and re-varnished, which have served to bring back to life the glorious original hand colouring. The green brass meridian ring shows some signs of wear, as do some of the lovely gores, which is not at all uncommon for a globe of this age. Four handsome black lacquered turned wooden table legs rest upon small circular feet with cross stretchers, which support the globe. All are tastefully decorated with an appealing floral design and then finished in gilt. The decorative central paper horizon ring has four concentric circles that display the signs of the zodiac, months of the year, wind directions, and the names of the prevailing trade winds (in French). In strict keeping with the graduated meridian ring, the inner and outer circles of the horizon ring are in a smart matching bright red colour. The meridian ring is set within the horizon ring. Including the oak stand the globe has a height of 56 cm. (22 inches).
What immediately strikes you when you look upon this stunning globe is the clear and well-presented display of the celestial heavens. There is an attractive small cartouche, which sits within the southern hemisphere, beneath ‘The Whale’ constellation, that provides a helpful scale of the “size of [the] stars.” Among the beautifully illustrated constellations there are those that are listed as ‘ancient’ – (48) identified by the second-century astronomer Ptolemy; and those that are those listed as ‘modern’ – (88) by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). For example, in the southern hemisphere you will find the L’Eridan constellation, represented by a large river; La Balance (Libra – the weighing scales) one of the zodiac constellations that lies between Virgo to the west, and Scorpio to the east; La Baleine (Cetus – The Whale) constellation, which lies close to the other water-related constellations of Aquarius, Pisces, and Eridan. In the northern hemisphere, you will find Les Poissons (Pisces). Represented as a distant pair of fishes connected by one cord each that join at an apex), and one of the zodiac constellations; Le Belier (Aires the Ram) another zodiac constellation; La Vierge (Virgo – the virgin) the largest zodiac constellation, and the second-largest constellation overall; Le Bouvier (The Herdsman/Plowman) the largest constellation. Examples of the smaller northern constellations are Le Petite Ursa Minor – The Little Bear), Le Vautour (the Eagle or Vulture carrying a Lyre), La Couronne (The Crown). In addition, there are the equatorial and ecliptic rings, both graduated in 360 degrees.
Historically, globes are among the most ancient scientific instruments known to man. They can be dated back over two millennia, and are still manufactured to this day. The earliest tradition of globe making is mainly concerned with celestial globes – man has always been fascinated and drawn to the heavens above. Celestial globes have always enjoyed a precedent of terrestrial globes. In fact, doubts about the feasibility of a terrestrial globe were firmly expressed by the Greek geographer Strabo; who wrote that such a globe would only make sense if its diameter were approximately 10 feet, presumably because only then could it furnish sufficient geographical detail! The great second-century Egyptian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and geographer, Claudius Ptolemy also considered the large size of a globe to be somewhat of an obstacle and noted a further shortcoming of a terrestrial globe – that one could not view the whole world on it a single glance. As a result, terrestrial globes were not as popular until much later.
The real beauty of globes is that they can be considered to be “all things to all men”; to some, they are useful and practical educational tools, (3D maps perhaps); to some others as beautiful and useful scientific instruments; and to more, they may be seen purely as decorative, beautiful pieces of furniture; to be envied and enjoyed, but more importantly, and above all, to be admired by all.
Desnos was the son of a cloth merchant, who became an important 18th-century cartographer, globe, and instrument maker, who based himself in Paris. In 1749 he married the widow of Nicolas Hardy, the son of Jacques Hardy a ‘manufacturer and dealer of spheres and astronomical instruments.’ In time he held the converted position of Royal Globemaker for Christian VII the King of Denmark. This postpaid an annual allowance of 500 livres, and in return Desnos would send the king maps, books, and atlases.