Jese Ramsden, English instrument maker, 1791.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Mezzotint engraving by John Jones after a painting by Robert Home. Ramsden (1735-1800) was royal optician to King George III (1760-1820). He was also a renowned instrument-maker throughout Europe. He made many improvements to astronomical instruments and created devices which could accurately measured angular and linear scales. He is shown here in a room at the Royal Society in London. In the background is Ramsden's altitude and ozimuth circle, which was built in 1789 for the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826) for a new observatory at Palermo in Sicily, Italy. Ramsden is pictured wearing a fur coat in reference to a commision for instruments from the Empres of Rusia. In his left hand he holds a scale and in his right, a compas, under which is a dividing engine.