The name ‘Selenographia’ refers to the complete assembly of a lunar globe engraved by John Russell, R. A. together with a mechanical stand designed by the artist himself. The graduated scales and the variety of rack and pinion adjustments on the brass stand permit a demonstration of the various elements of the moon’s oscillatory libration, while the small earth globe can be used to demonstrate parallax. In order to do this, the earth globe has to be very small because its distance from the moon is so greatly contracted.
The elaborate printed inscription on the the far side of the globe reads: ‘A GLOBE representing the VISIBLE SURFACE of the MOON, constructed from TRIANGLES measured with a MICROMETER and accurately drawn & engraved from a long series of TELESCOPIC OBSERVATIONS, by I. Russell, R. A. BY HIS MAJESTY’S LETTERS PATENT, This Globe being part of the APPARATUS named the SELENOGRAPHIA, designed to exhibit the Lunar Libration &c, is Published by the Author, Newman Street, London June 14th. 1797.’ In addition, the stand is also engraved with the words: ‘INVENTED By I. RUSSELL’.