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Lot 339
ASTRONOMY.
Sold for £4,800 (US$ 7,959) inc. premium
Lot Details
ASTRONOMY.
COLLECTION OF SIXTEEN LETTERS AND DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE ASTRONOMERS EDWARD PIGOTT (1753-1825) AND JOHN GOODRICKE (1764-1786), tipped into pigskin backed boards, bookplate of Fairfax of Cameron (to whom Pigott was distantly related), folio, including:

i) Autograph letter signed and part of another ending imperfectly by Anthony Shepherd (?1721-1796, Plumian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge), to John Goodricke (1764-1786) and his father, concerning the paper delivered on 15 May 1783 at the Royal Society about John Goodricke's celebrated observations of the variable star Algol which won him the Copley Medal, the Royal Society's most prestigious award, at the age of only seventeen, describing how Goodricke was given precedence for the discovery over Herschel through Shepherd's own and Sir Joseph Banks's endeavours and commenting on it ('...The discovery is of more importance than you are aware off -- Pray let your Son have the honor due to him...'); he also states that Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, would account a visit by Goodricke at the Royal Observatory a singular pleasure, 3 pages, quarto, Newman Street, 6 and 15 May 1783

ii) Autograph letter signed by Henry Charles Englefield (c. 1752-1822, antiquary and scientist, the Englefield mountain barometer being named after him), to Edward Pigott, asking him to persuade the celebrated instrument maker [Jesse] Ramsden (1735-1800) to finish a portable barometer for him together with a small compass and 'a little chromatic', mentioning being clouded out when observing the occulation of Venus, and meeting Magellan, and relating that he 'kist the Chevalier ten times', 3 pages, quarto, integral address panel, 14 July 1777

iii) Printed blank on vellum with manuscript insertions appointing Pigott a corresponding member of the Paris Academy of Science, 1 page, oblong folio, papered seal, 12 June 1776

iv) Manuscript appointment on paper of Pigott as a foreign member of the Imperial Academy of Science in Brussells, 1 page, oblong folio, papered seal, 25 May 1773

v) Six official documents relating to the imprisonment of Edward Pigott at Fontainebleau as a prisoner of war, 1806 [his imprisonment is not mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

vi) An eighteenth-century manuscript plan of the Bastille.

Footnotes

  • See Lot 349.
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