|Roberts Ad viv. invt. et sc. [London, c.1790]
|Image 192 x 162 mm, Sheet 195 x 165 mm
The autobiographical horoscope of the astrologer, physician, and esoteric philosopher, Ebenezer Sibly, from the second volume of his 'An Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology.' The portrait shows Sibly half length, in profile to the left, seated in his study and surrounded by various scientific and astrological instruments, including an armillary sphere, a sextant, and an open book containing greek letters and alchemical symbols. He wears a dark waistcoat and coat, and a periwig, and in his left hand, clasps a horoscope of the type found in his book, this particular example for a 'Miss Urania Sibly, Born March 8th, 2 H 53 AM 1782,' presumably his own daughter, appropriately named for the classical muse of astrology and astronomy. The large oval border contains Sibly's horoscope, with zodiacal and other relevant astrological notations given with their corresponding symbols. Sibly's own portrait and horoscope was the first in a series presented in the book, which included notable historical figures including Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, Henry VIII, Cicero, and William Lilly.
James Roberts (c.1725-1799) was a British printmaker, engraver, and architectural draughtsman, whose work ranged from topographical views to portraits and natural history illustrations. David Alexander comments that it is unclear whether this portrait is his work, though it has previously been attributed to him.
Condition: Trimmed to image, within platemark. Large horizontal crease through bottom half of image. Minor time toning and foxing to sheet. Blank on verso.