Portable reflector telescope by James Short

Portable reflector telescope

James Short

Fine art poster

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Portable reflector telescope

This is a portable Gregorian (reflecting) telescope by James Short (1710-1768), a very successful instrument maker based in Edinburgh and then London. Much of his success was due to his capturing of a new market of wealthy individuals who were keen to demonstrate their learning and good taste by displaying attractive and high-quality instruments of this type within their homes.

The telescope is signed "JAMES SHORT LONDON 128/832 = 12", meaning it has a focal length of 12 inches (304.8mm), and that this was the 128th of that size out of a total of 832 telescopes. The barrel is made of brass and has a sighting system on the top and a focusing mechanism of screw thread and rod on one side, which moves the secondary mirror. There are brass caps at both eyepiece and object end. Within the barrel are primary and secondary specula (mirrors). The length with the eyepiece is 525 mm, the diameter of the barrel is 85 mm, and the focal length is 304.8mm (12 inches).

The telescope is mounted on a pillar stand with three folding claw legs. It has adjustable inclination and rotary movement (or altitude and azimuth movement). Both the telescope and collapsible stand fit into a mahogany box, which also contains a spare eyepiece and an eyepiece cap.
James Short

  • Image reference: F2985

Discover more

More by the artist James Short.