Jamieson’s Heavenly Celestial Atlas from 1822

Andromeda is also in the north and named after the daughter of Cassiopeia. Pictorial star atlases were popular at this time but these impressive books were often large and expensive. His books included A Grammar of Universal Geography, A Grammar of Logic and Intellectual Philosophy and the Mechanics of Fluids for Practical Men, and you can be excused for giving these three a miss. Stargazers have looked up to this constellation since the Bronze Age. Cygnus: A northern constellation lying on the plane of the Milky Way, deriving its name from the Latin and Greek for swan. Cygnus contains Deneb, one of the brightest stars. Its Latin name means ‘charioteer.’   Illustrations traditionally show a chariot and its driver, who is holding goats and reins. But you cannot turn your back on Jamieson’s Celestial Atlas from 1822. Cost forced Jamieson to produce a small atlas
Jamieson’s Celestial Atlas contains 30 engraved illustrations by a firm called Neele & Son. Each chart was approximately 9 inches by 7 inches in size. Ursa Major: Also known as the Great Bear, this constellation is in the northern sky and has been known for eons. Jamieson produced a second edition of the star atlas just four months after releasing first, almost certainly due to demand. Jamieson’s Celestial Atlas was much smaller and cheaper. Born on the Isle of Bute, the son of a Scottish wheelwright, Jamieson became a member of the Astronomical Society of London and is chiefly remembered for his beautiful depiction of the heavens in a celestial atlas. It was books like Jamieson’s Celestial Atlas and Urania’s Mirror that helped popularize the idea of the heavens being a blank piece of paper for artists. Jamieson only displayed stars visible to the naked eye, making it widely accessible to anyone who looked at the heavens. This constellation is usually represented by the crab, based on Karkinos, a huge crab that harassed Greek hero Heracles during his battle with the Hydra. Twenty six of the plates are constellation maps. These books are now scarce and only one copy can be found on AbeBooks (for $3,200) but individual prints are available. In 1824, he published a follow-up called An Atlas of Outline Maps of the Heavens but it did not sell well. Jamieson explains in the preface that he had originally wanted larger charts, but used smaller ones to reduce production costs. Cetus: A whale-like sea monster in Greek mythology slain by Perseus in order to save Andromeda from Poseidon. Jamieson wasn’t the first to mix art and astronomy, but his atlas, which was allowed to be dedicated to King George IV (quite the honor), remains memorable to this day. It was one of the original 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy. The star maps are overlaid with imagery from the Zodiac and ancient mythology. Hydra: The largest of the 88 modern constellations and commonly represented as a water snake. The latest scientific knowledge is combined with artistic craftsmanship. He printed black and white and hand-colored versions which were offered for £1 5 shillings or £1 11 shillings and 6 pence respectively. The book’s full and lengthy title is A Celestial Atlas, Comprising a Systematic Display of the Heavens in a Series of Thirty Maps, Illustrated by Scientific Descriptions of their Contents, and Accompanied by a Catalogue of the Stars and Astronomical Exercises. Apparently, these cards had a tendency to catch on fire. Taurus: A large constellation in the northern hemisphere’s winter sky. The association with a bull dates back thousands of years. Find Jamieson’s Celestial Atlas
Auriga: This constellation was identified as early as the 2nd century AD by the astronomer Ptolemy. She was chained to a rock to be eaten by a sea monster. Sagittarius: Archer in Latin, and this constellation is usually represented by a centaur firing an arrow
Alexander Jamieson was an 18th century schoolteacher who wrote textbooks on the side. Orion was a hunter in Greek mythology who was sent to the heavens by Zeus. Cancer: The fourth sign in the Zodiac. Urania’s Mirror contains hand-colored cards depicting mythological figures while strategic pinholes indicate the location of the stars, allowing a viewer to visualize their appearance in the sky when held up the sky. Jamieson’s original Celestial Atlas was so popular that his artwork was copied and used in a book called Urania’s Mirror, which was published anonymously (since it was blatantly plagiarized) in 1824. Perseus: A constellation in the northern sky, named after the Greek hero Perseus.

Jamieson’s Heavenly Celestial Atlas from 1822