A pair of extremely rare and magnificent George the second or third, mid-eighteenth century English Pocket Globes by W. Goodison. The twin globes illustrate the Terrestrial and Celestial spheres. They are undated, however, the style, design, wording and execution all undoubtedly point to them being eighteenth century and produced in England, probably London. To the very best of our knowledge, these particular globes have never appeared on the market before, and have never been offered for sale, furthermore, until now, we have never heard of the globe-maker, nor indeed, found any information about him.
GLOBES and STANDS: Terrestrial and Celestial 3 inch (7.6 cm) diameter pocket globes, standing 8.25 inches (21 cm) high in their stands.
CONDITION: Both the twin globes and the stands are in excellent condition. No repair or facsimile work has been carried out. The only work undertaken to distinguish the original condition to that on offer is some re-varnishing, a little light cleaning, and some judicious colour retouching where necessary. The globes are in contemporary hand colour, and are formed of twelve engraved, hand coloured gores of papier-mâché.
THE STANDS: The globes are housed within a pair of handsome and stylish ebony and gold stands – that would be beautiful as stand alone items in their own right. The base of each stand is identically decorated with a rich hand painted gold floral design, with two gold rings beneath. The stem is adorned with two smaller gold rings. The globe holders are furnished with a simple but pleasing repeat gold leaf emblem. The interior is a rich, luxurious light ruby red colour, a pleasant contrast to the elegant exterior. POCKET
GLOBES: Terrestrial and Celestial globes have several elements in common, the framework for both consists of a set of lines; the Equator, the Ecliptic, the circles of the Tropics, and those of the Arctic and Antarctic. The lines on a terrestrial globe have their counterparts in equivalent positions on a celestial globe. In addition, a celestial globe may often display meridian lines called colures, which cross the solstitial and equinoctial points. In order to best use and view a celestial globe, the user must imagine the earth at the very centre of the sphere, and to be beyond the heavens, looking down on the universe.
The undoubted heyday of the pocket globe was in Georgian England throughout the eighteenth century, they became very popular and “in vogue”. They were to be found, usually in pairs, in many affluent homes. Wealthy English aristocrats would purchase them as much for their undoubted novelty value, as for their genuine interest in geography and astronomy. The production of pocket globes coincided with the age of the Enlightenment in Britain, which encouraged members of the upper classes to acquire a broad body of knowledge and understanding about the arts and sciences. The twin fields of geography and astronomy were expanding rapidly throughout this period, with British explorers and scientists making strong and significant contributions. Societies were founded to fund exploratory expeditions, and to encourage and foster research about foreign lands – from geography to natural history. World maps were frequently redrawn as the discoveries of Cook and Anson brought back with them new, priceless geographic information about the Western Hemisphere, the South Pacific and the Polar regions. Such discoveries and Cook’s routes were frequently noted on British globes, even at the small scale of a pocket globe. Knowledge, then as now was power, and had a significant impact on a countries ability to expand trade and empire.
THE TERRESTRIAL GLOBE: This globe has a simple title cartouche of a floral design. It is coloured in soft pastel shades. The equator and the ecliptic circle are graduated by degrees. There are two polar calottes, plus a further graduated line between the two polar regions. Cartographic details are limited only in terms of scale and knowledge at the time, but that in no way diminishes the interest or curiosity to be had. The Australian coastline continues to be inaccurate, with Van Diemen’s Land being attached to the mainland, and the entire eastern coast is linked to Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. There is only the vaguest suggestion of New Zealand’s geography. The country is still styled ‘New Holland’, an acknowledgement to earlier Dutch exploration and discovery a century before. Japan is misshapen, and only a notion of Yedo is engraved; Brazil is still displayed as ‘pushing’ too far into the Atlantic Ocean; California is erroneously mapped as an island, Spain still controls Florida, and ‘Mexico’ extends its reach more than half way up the western coast of America. “New Mexico’ is labeled in what are now the US states of Oregon and Washington. Large swathes of Canada are unexplored and left to the imagination; evidenced by the term ‘Incognita’. Some Native American regions are mentioned. Continents are noted in different colours, regional boundaries by dotted lines and major bays, islands, larger rivers, lakes are delineated and forests are shown in pictorial relief. The world’s oceans or ‘seas’ are full of information and notes to the erstwhile sailor and navigator. They inform on trade winds and monsoonal activity, aided with helpful directional arrows. Lucrative trade routes from the European powers to their markets and far-flung empires are highlighted in red, adding relevance to the trade wind and monsoonal information. Perhaps the most important of these (from an English perspective) was the information provided in the Atlantic Ocean, running between the West Coast of Africa and to southern North America and the Caribbean. This was the territory of the slave trade – a trade that flourished throughout the eighteenth century, and a great source of wealth to the English.
THE CELESTIAL GLOBE: This celestial globe is attractively decorated with images of the zodiac, the constellations and the heavens, all in contemporary colour. Each of the twelve signs of the zodiac are identified and named in Latin. The twelve signs are:
1. Aires (Ram)
2. Taurus (Bull)
3. Gemini (Twins)
4. Cancer (Crab)
5. Leo (Lion)
6. Virgo (Virgin)
7. Libra (Weighing Scales)
8. Scorpio (Scorpion)
9. Sagittarius (Archer)
10. Capricorn (Goat)
11. Aquarius (Water Carrier)
12. Pices (Fish)
The zodiac is usually divided into twelve signs, each occupying 30 degrees of celestial longitude, roughly corresponding to the constellations. The Sun spends around one month in each sign.
This is a unique opportunity to acquire one of the rarest pairs of English Georgian Pocket Globes. In wonderful condition, which in conjunction with the twin stands would lend style, grace and sophistication to any setting into which they are placed.