This is one of only two known examples of the earliest surviving printed celestial globe. It was made by Johann Schöner, one of the leading astronomers of Europe in the early decades of the 16th century. He edited treatises left unpublished by Regiomontanus and his printing press produced maps as well as the gores for his globes, printed from woodcuts. He made his first pair of globes – terrestrial and celestial – in 1515, and Schöner was the first person to issue globes of the same size as pairs.
Larger than the pair of 1515, there is also a terrestrial companion to this celestial globe. The woodcuts for both the larger globes had been completed by 1533, when Schöner published a tract on each of them. The stand for this example is dated 1535.
A celestial globe by Schöner is included in the famous painting ‘The Ambassadors’, 1533, by Hans Holbein the Younger in the National Gallery.
On loan from the Royal Astronomical Society