Cover to 'Sun, moon, and stars', 1881.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Decorative binding showing the sun and planets blocked in gold and in the centre, Donati's comet which was seen over London in 1858. Italian astronomer Giambattista Donati (1826-1873) observed and recorded the first appearance of this comet in June 1858. Donati's comet was also the first to be photographed. The development of publishers' book bindings in the late nineteenth century led to a huge increase of bright, decorative covers for popular science and technology books. Most were unsigned by artists employed by the publishers. Cover to 'Sun, moon, and stars: a book for beginners' by Agnes Giberne, published in London in 1881.