image hevelius_j_machina_coelestis_012
Image number: RS.17693
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Sextant

Date

1673

Sitter

Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687, German/Polish), Astronomer
Elisabeth Hevelius (1647-1693, German/Polish), Astronomer

Creator

Isaac Saal (fl. 1673-1679, Polish), Engraver

After

Andreas Stech (b.1635, Polish), Painter

Object type

Library reference

44015

Material

Technique

Dimensions

height (plate): 310mm
width (plate): 195mm

Subject

Content object

Description

Johannes and Elisabeth Hevelius observing the sky with a grand brass sextant. Johannes sits to the left looking through the eyepiece [as viewed], and Elisabeth stands to the right. There appears to be a balcony behind them.

Plate 12 from Johannes Hevelius’ Machinae coelestis pars prior…, Vol. 1.

Inscribed below: ‘A. Stech Delin I. Saal Sculps’

Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) Polish astronomer was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1664. He devoted much of his life to constructing astronomical instruments, and developed a well-equipped observatory in Danzig, Poland.

Elisabeth Hevelius (1647-1693) Polish astronomer was not a Fellow of the Royal Society. Elisabeth demonstrated an early interest in astronomy and, later in life, capability with large sextants and quadrants. The engravings in Machinae are considered the first ever printed illustrations of a woman astronomer at work.

Object history

The Royal Society possess a copy of Volume 1 of Machinae coelestis pars prior… only. Volume 2 is rare, as many copies were burned in the fire of Hevelius' home and observatory in 1679.

Associated place

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