Thomas Wright. Phil. Nat. Nat. Et. Mat. Prof.
Engraving, 200 x 115mm (8 x 4½"). Trimmed to image; laid on backing sheet.
Thomas Wright (1711 - 1786), astronomer, instrument maker and landscape gardener. Wright's 'Clavis pannautici' (1734) described the pannauticon, a paper instrument dedicated to George II. His 'Clavis coelestis' (1742) was an enormous engraved diagram of the heavens and theories of their arrangement. He is most famous, however, for 'An Original Theory of the Universe' (1750), embellished with spectacular engravings and fragments of poetry, which ponders why we see the Milky Way as we do. When the work of William Hershel led to acceptance of the galaxy's spiral shape, Wright's 'grindstone' theory was seen as a precursor. Wright also designed gardens (in a style similar to William Kent), published books on architecture ('Universal Architecture', 1755-8) and the antiquities of Co. Louth ('Louthiana', 1748), and designed buildings. With vignette of 'The Astronomical Cylinder or Sun Dial' below portrait. Published in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' of 1793, probably to accompany the posthumous publication of Wright's description of his house in Byers Green, County Durham (which was demolished in 1967).
BM: pg.550, 2. W. 3239-3.
[Ref: 35271] £75.00