Sir William Herschel, German-British astronomer, 1814.

Godby, James

 
Sir William Herschel, German-British astronomer, 1814.
4 0 c m
 
33cm
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm

Description

Engraving by James Godby from a drawing by Rehberg in 1814 showing William Herschel (1738-1822) in old age. This portrait depicts the atronomer against a backdrop of the night sky with the stars of the constellation of Gemini. It was composed to celebrate Herschel's discovery of the planet Uranus on 13 March 1781. Overnight, Herschel was transformed from an obscure musician into a celebrity for uncovering the first new planet since Antiquity. Appointed royal astronomer by King George III (1738-1820), he acknowledged his royal patron by naming the new planet 'Georgium Sidus' ('Georgian Star'). The name was later dropped in favour of Uranus.

Image Details

Artist
 
Image Ref.
 
10400333

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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