Phases of the moon: a study of 19th century scientific book illustrations providing a comprehensive catalogue for the first three editions of James Nasmyth & James Carpenter's The Moon: considered as a planet, a world, and a satellite
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 16:47 by Laura Margaret Ramsey
James Hall Nasmyth (1808–1890) was an accomplished engineer and amateur astronomer. The culmination of Nasmyth's drawings from telescopic observation, the advent of photomechanical print processes, and his interest in the causative features of the lunar surface, led to the 1874 publication of The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite. This thesis provides a comprehensive catalogue of the lunar illustrations in the first three editions, revealing the aesthetic variations in the illustrative plates due to reproduction and print processes used. These processes include: engraving, photogravure, heliotype, lithograph, chromolithograph, and four different variations of the Woodburytype. The editions are contextualized using scientific photographs as illustrations, through a discussion of astronomy, book production, and Nasmyth's biography. Through an examination of Nasmyth's use of photography and permanent print processes, this thesis argues that his lunar illustrations remain an important scientific contribution.