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The moon, viewed in full sunlight. Stipple engraving by J. Russell, 1805.

Russell, John, 1745-1806.
26 November 1805
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view The moon, viewed in full sunlight. Stipple engraving by J. Russell, 1805.
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Credit: The moon, viewed in full sunlight. Stipple engraving by J. Russell, 1805. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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About this work


This is one of two large and detailed engravings of the moon made by John Russell in 1805 from his own drawings. He was not a professional man of science: he was an artist, specializing in pastel drawings but also painting in oils. He painted mainly portraits and sentimental subjects such as children and pets, and had among his clients members of the royal family and several scientists. He was bowled over one night by the beauty of the moon as seen through a telescope in a garden in Newman Street (off Oxford Street, in London). Thereafter he devoted much of his time to studying the moon and drawing its physical landscape in ever greater detail, in an attempt to improve and correct the existing maps. His notebooks on the moon, a large pastel of the moon, and a moon globe by Russell are preserved in the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. The two engravings, completed shortly before his death, form as far as possible his definitive findings. Russell was something of a religious fanatic and a strict observer of the Sabbath. He was a follower of John Hutchinson (1664-1737), a natural philosopher who advocated the understanding of the physical world on biblical principles. He is one of many who have been inspired by their religion to study the physical world as a tribute to its Creator


London (Charing Cross) : Wm Faden, 26 November 1805.

Physical description

1 print : engraving ; image 42 x 42 cm platemark 68.5 x 48.3 cm


Plate the first of the Moon in plano. Engraved by John Russell Esq. R.A. from his original drawings, carefully measured by a micrometer.


The plate is dedicated to Nevil Maskelyne, the astronomer Royal, by William Russell
The plate from which this print is made took twenty years to complete (DNB)


Wellcome Library no. 498162i

Lettering note

Lettering continues: This plate exhibits an accurate view of the lunar disk in a state of direct opposition to the sun, when from the absence of shadow the eminences and depressions are undetermined, and every intricate part arising from local colour or other hitherto inexplicable causes is developed and fully expressed. In a mean state of libration.
The lettering is repeated in French



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