Hakluyt @ 400 - Renaissance Scientific Instruments (2)
Surveying Virginia and the Moon; Thomas Harriot of St Mary's Hall/Oriel College, Europe's first Telescopic Astronomer
By the time that Richard Hakluyt was teaching geography and cosmography at Christ Church around 1580, there was already an established Europe-wide trade in making graduated mathematical instruments. Thomas Harriot must have known Richard Hakluyt well, for both men shared friends such as the Oriel alumnus Sir Walter Ralegh, Dr John Dee, Thomas Digges and other explorers and scientists around the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. Harriot used an early Dutch 'truncke' telescope to draw the surface of the moon. Soon after, he produced some lunar maps of exquisite detail and accuracy, which still survive in Chichester.
Most of the ordinary instruments of the working navigator, surveyor, and map-maker would have been made of wood, and would have had an ephemeral existence. They would have been lost at sea, broken, or eventually thrown into the fire. Where these instruments truly come to life, though, is in the engraved and printed manuals for their usage.
To illustrate how these instruments were used, the Library has invited Dr Allan Chapman to give a series of talks. These will take place on 5 December and 16 January in the Upper Library at Christ Church, commencing 17.15, all welcome. The event is free of charge, but spaces are limited. To book a place, please contact Dr Cristina Neagu.
Telephone: +44 1865 276265