Illuminating Space, views of the heavens at Bonhams


2015-06-26 11:04:09


Illuminating Space, views of the heavens at Bonhams

Bonhams have announced details of a spectacular single-owner auction to feature items highlighting mankind’s view of the heavens on December 5th.

187 lots from a private collection span three centuries of fascination with astronomy, with items including telescopes, lunar and planetary globes, photographs, manuscripts, documents and prints.

The imaginations and intellectual pursuits of man have long been held captive by the mysteries of the universe. This collection traces the advancement of technologies to aid the visual and scientific study of space over 300 years.

Highlights include the innovation six-inch reflecting telescope of Claude-Simeon Passemant, developed in 1750. Passemant was named the ‘ingenieur du Roi’ of Louis XV, following the publication of his treatise ‘Construction d’un telescope de reflexion’ in 1738. Considered the largest Passemant telescope in private hands, this example is set to fetch $30,000-$50,000.

The mystery of the moon, long before mankind travelled to walk its shores, held a particular fascination for scientists and artists throughout history. John Russell, a famed British painter, drew telescopic observations throughout his youth, studying the phases of the moon scientifically for his pieces. He then created a Selenographia globe featuring an accurately drawn and engraved moon surface. One of just eleven of these known to exist will be offered at Bonhams, estimate $200,000-$300,000.

A selection of space photography complements the sale, including the stunning images taken by Pierre Henri Puiseux and Maurice Loewy, four large-format photogravures of the moon’s quadrants valued at $12,000-$18,000.

A silver gelatin print of the reversed perspective, the Lunar Orbiter I photograph of the Earth taken from the Moon, will be offered at $8,000-$12,000.

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