Lord Rosse's Great Reflecting Telescope, at Parsonstown, Ireland by Working Men's Educational Union

Lord Rosse's Great Reflecting Telescope, at Parsonstown, Ireland

Working Men's Educational Union

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Lord Rosse's Great Reflecting Telescope, at Parsonstown, Ireland by Working Men's Educational Union zoom

Lord Rosse's Great Reflecting Telescope, at Parsonstown, Ireland

Coloured cotton wall hanging, showing the so-called Leviathan of Parsonstown, a large reflecting telescope erected at Birr Castle in Ireland. At each corner is a brass eyelet from which to hang the piece, while the number 109 is printed in the lower left hand corner below a stamp for the Working Men's Educational Union, King William Street, Trafalgar Square, London.

This is one of nine wall hangings now in the NMM, all on astronomical themes, which were produced by the Working Men's Educational Union. They were printed lithographically on cotton, probably to avoid paper duty. The hangings would have been used in lectures, held at various locations, to illustrate the latest advances in knowledge. The Working Men's Educational Union was a philanthropic society that aimed to provide education to the working classes.

The WMEU's first annual report (1853) lists wall hanging 109 as 'Lord Rosse's Great Reflecting Telescope, at Parsonstown, Ireland. It cost 1s 6d for subscribers and 2s 0d for non-subscribers and was one of a series of hangings depicting telescopes and their optical principles.

The National Maritime Museum also has a print of the Birr Castle telescope (PAJ3506).
Working Men's Educational Union

  • Image reference: F8661

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