Product images of A philosopher giving a lecture on the orrery
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Manufactured in the UK
All products are printed in the UK, using the latest digital presses and a giclée printmaking process.
We only use premium branded inks, and colours are independently verified to last between 100 and 200 years.
A philosopher giving a lecture on the orrery
This mezzotint is based on Joseph Wright of Derby's painting, first exhibited by the Society of Artists in 1766 under the title 'A Philosopher giving that Lecture on the Orrery, in which a lamp is put in place of the Sun'. The lesson explained the Copernican, or heliocentric, theory of the solar system by placing a candle in the centre of the orrery and letting the model planets revolve around it. This is a grand orrery, with metal hoops and circles above representing the celestial sphere, a projection of the earth's tilted axis and equator. The lecture appears to be taking place in a domestic setting and three men, a woman, two young children and an older boy present. The painting was reproduced in numerous prints, testifying to its popularity. The rapt attention of the audience and the authority of the lecturer and his subject are heightened by the dramatic use of light, reproduced by Pether in imitation of Wright's original, which is now among the fine collection of his works in Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
Original size: 475 mm x 570 mm
- Image reference: PT3149
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London