Coloured and contrasting maps of the moon

This map features two coloured and contrasting maps of the moon, one by Johannes Hevelius, the other by Giovanni Battista Riccioli, both originally published in the mid-17th century. Although the topography of the moon obviously does not change much, this work charts how the nomenclature of the moon’s features was subject to vigorous debate. Hevelius’ system, favoured in Protestant countries, assigned the names of terrestrial countries and features to lunar ones. Riccioli’s system was favoured in Catholic countries at first, not becoming the standard until the middle of the 18th century, and invoked the names of famous astronomers used alongside more evocative names. Parts of the moon that appeared darker were called “seas”, such as the Sea of Tranquility, lighter parts were termed “land”, for example the Land of Fertility or the Land of Health.

Doppelmaiero (1677-1750) was a prolific writer on astronomy, mathematics and instrumentation whose most enduring work, his Atlas Coelestis, included this lunar map along with star charts, the planetary systems of Tychus, Copernicus and Riccioli and Halley’s cometary theory. Although the atlas was not published until 1742, most of the charts contained within it were produced between 1709 and 1720. The charts were collected by the Fagels as they were produced, as evidenced by the fact that they were never bound, and complement the magnificently illustrated celestial atlas by Cellari found elsewhere in the collection.

Tabula Selenographica in qua Lunarium Macularum exacta Descriptio secundum Nomenclaturam – by Gabriell Doppelmaiero and engraved by JB Homann, Nuremberg, 1718, 58×46cm