A representation of the meteor seen at Paddington about 12 minutes before 11 o'clock, on the evening of the 11 February 1850
A mezzotint representation of a bright, exploding meteor seen over London in 1850. The image is dominated by the dark sky and streaking meteor, with rooftops and clouds just visible. The explosion and sparks of the meteor suggest that it was a bolide. It was drawn by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, who also produced the engraving so that 'a faithfully graphic exhibition of its appearance might be more generally diffused'. Wyatt was a painter and sculptor, and member of the Wyatt family of architects and sculptors. This meteor was evidently particularly spectacular and was widely reported, including in the Illustrated London News. The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society record that George Airy, Astronomer Royal, had observed this meteor, and James Glaisher, Second Assistant, published observations of it in the Philosophical Magazine. An inventory of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, from 1893 records that a copy of this print was displayed on the staircase to the Octagon Room in Flamsteed House.
Matthew Cotes Wyatt
Original size: 325 mm x 454 mm
- Image reference: PT3495
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Gabb Collection
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