Bay of Naples and Vesuvius model, 1850-1871.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of a plaster relief model of the Bay of Naples and the volcano Vesuvius, made by James Nasmyth (1808-1890). Nasmyth, a successful industrialist and engineer, produced this model for comparison with ones he made of the Moon's craters based on his lunar observations. Working from his Moon drawings, he calculated the height of the lunar features by measuring the length of their shadows. These were then photographed with suitable lighting to produce better results than could be achieved at the time with direct lunar photography. Nasmyth went onto photograph a whole series of his lunar models. They were used to illustrate the book, 'The Moon' that Nasmyth published in 1871 with James Carpenter.