ASTRONOMY - SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 1871
Lot 347
ASTRONOMY - SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 1871
Sold for £696 (US$ 1,154) inc. premium
Lot Details
ASTRONOMY - SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 1871
Drawings and papers of Henry Holiday as the official artist on Sir Norman Lockyer's English Government Eclipse Expedition, sponsored by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, sent to India to observe the total solar eclipse of 1871, the archive including: three watercolour drawings on one sheet, highlighted with body colour, signed by Holiday and captioned in brush "Notes of Eclipse of the Sun Dec 12. 1871/ Poodoocottah/ Henry Holiday"; four further watercolour studies of the eclipse, almost certainly by Holiday (two almost Emile Nolde-esque); a pencil sketch, highlighted with white body colour, by Holiday, showing observations being made onboard ship, inscribed "On the Mezzafiore Nov. 25. 1871" (minor tears at edges where formerly mounted); a pen-and-ink drawing by Holiday of observations being made from a roof, captioned by him in pencil "On the roof of the Bungalow Dec. 12. 1871 (in text No 27. p.269", and date-stamped by Heinemann's 21 July 1913; a pen-and-ink study by Holiday of "Residency Bungalow, prepared for observing the Eclipse of Dec 12. 1871. Poodoocottah"; a pen-and-ink study by Holiday of female dancers, 12 December 1871, marked up in pencil for reproduction ("Natch-Girls No 26. p.267"); a pencil sketch by Holiday of an Indian elephant being led by a wallah; a rough drawing of the eclipse on a pre-printed form by Captain P. Montgomerie RE; the letter to Holiday, from the Secretary of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, accepting his offer to serve on the Expedition ("...The Eclipse Committee of the British Association understanding that you have expressed your willingness to join the Expedition, have requested me to inform you that they gladly accept your Services..."), 18 October 1871; memorandum on British Association paper, signed by Lockyer ("...Professor Respighi has determined to use the Merz prism Mr Holiday shd if possible, if the party proceeds to Trinchinopoly call for volunteers from the Garrison and obtain as many pairs of observers as possible and place them across the line of totality..."), 1 December 1871; two letters to Holiday by the botanist Thomas Thomson FRS, Treasurer to the Expedition, from Camp Bekal, South Canara, about their instruments and itinerary; a cabinet photograph of Holiday and other members of the Expedition; telegraph messages to Respighi ("...Telegraph arrangements and whether you have sketchers at limits of Totality - splendid weather Government grants free Telegraphs...""...Grand success at Baikul and Ceylon. Bring detailed observations and drawing with you - Congratulations to both of you..."); notes on deviations from GMT of the Arnold Chronometer, 6062 P, issued to the Expedition, signed William Ellis, responsible for rating chronometers brought to the Royal Observatory [and for reducing Dr Livingstone's data]; notes by Holiday headed "To Mount an Equatorial" with further notes headed "To adjust O. glass"; Holiday's bill from The Neilgherry Press Co Ltd for white printing paper and music sheets; freight bills invoiced to Holiday (for 15 packages etc), his rail luggage tickets; testimonials for a bearer (printed at the Mofussil Press, Trinchinopoly), etc; together with a cheque signed by John Ruskin, for 3gns to W.H. Hooper (engraver of the Kelmscott Press)

Footnotes

  • Henry Holiday, who was later to achieve additional fame as illustrator of The Hunting of the Snark, was at the height of his fame and prosperity, hard at work on the stained glass windows in the chapel at Trinity College Cambridge and murals at Worcester College Oxford and several town halls, when he suffered a breakdown: "Respite came in 1871, when Holiday accompanied Sir Norman Lockyer's expedition to India to observe the solar eclipse. He produced meticulous drawings of the scientific phenomena and sketched local costumes and architecture, returning to London with a pet gazelle as a souvenir" (ODNB). Some of the present material was used by him for his Reminiscences of My Life, published by Heinemann in 1914.
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