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Johnston, Patricia, ed., Celestial Images: Astronomical Charts from 1500 to 1900, Boston: The New England Foundation for the Arts, 1985, ISBN 0-87270-057-7, 28x19cm., 64pp., illustrated, paper (678 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, $9.75 plus shipping).

Put together under the direction of Patricia Johnston, Acting Director of the Boston University Art Gallery, this exhibition catalog describes a wide range of celestial charts.  Several introductory essays, including a rather windy effort by one Professor Edgerton, are followed by descriptions of 69 items.  We see some remarkable items, including 1599 celestial globe gores by Blaeu and a 17th-century brass globe made in India having 1028 stars inset in silver.  The illustrations, including many in color, are of extremely high quality.  Some might regard this work as an example of welfare for the wealthy, where government and foundations contribute to enterprises designed to benefit a small segment of affluent literati.  Those of liberal political persuasion who might experience guilt at purchasing a book produced by money which might have fed the poor will be forced to forgo this work.  The more materialistic among us will find our senses and intellect pleasantly stimulated.

David C. Jolly, 1986

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