|Steel engraved with original hand colour
|Walker, John and Charles
|Drawn by W. Newton. The Constellations by W. Clarke, Archt. Engraved by J. & C. Walker. London, Edward Stanford 6 Charing Cross [c.1845]
|300 x 300 mm
A nineteenth century constellation map, engraved by the Walkers and published in 'The Stars in Six Maps, on the Gnomic Projections,' a supplement to the Family Atlas produced by Edward Stanford for the Society for the Diffusion on Useful Knowledge (SDUK). The map, ornamented in hand colour, shows the constellations pictorially. A key along the right margin illustrates the orders of magnitude of stars and nebulae. This particular example shows the night sky of the southern polar hemisphere for the year 1830, centred on Octans and encompassing the constellations Argo, Eridanus, Sagittarius, Lupus, Centaurus, and the Southern Cross.
The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK), founded in 1826 lasting only until 1848, was a Whiggish London organisation that published inexpensive texts intended to adapt scientific and similarly high-minded material for the rapidly expanding reading public. The Society's main purpose was to encourage universal literacy by publishing numbers of books of good quality that would be affordable to all. It was established mainly at the instigation of Lord Brougham with the object of publishing information to people who were unable to obtain formal teaching, or who preferred self-education.
John Walker (fl. 1813-1873) and Charles Walker (1799-1872) were British cartographers, geographers, and map engravers, and the sons of the engraver and Admiralty hydrographer, John Walker (fl. 1783-1831). John, the better known of the two sons, was a founding member of the Royal Geographic Society. A third brother, Thomas (fl. 1805-1865), succeeded his father as a hydrographer to the Admiralty.
Condition: Minor time toning to edges of sheet. Insect damage to bottom right corner of sheet, not affecting map.