Prints were a publishing phenomenon of 18th-century Britain. Print shops sprang up in London catering for a new middle-class market hungry for engravings of Old Master paintings, landscapes, celebrities and political satires.
Science was part of this fashionably image-conscious world. Large-scale prints were produced to illustrate and explain notable events such as solar eclipses. Transits were given the same treatment.
One of the first to see the possibilities of astronomical prints was William Whiston. His transit print, showing future transits of both Venus and Mercury, was crammed with text and carried rather spartan images. Though appealing more to the understanding than to cultivated taste, it was sufficiently successful to be reissued. Displayed here is the original version of 1723 and the 1736 revision.