Tab. XIX

Rare c.18th celestial chart by John Bevis from his rare ‘unpublished’ star atlas, Atlas Celeste. The chart is dedicated; “To the Reverend James Bradley Royal and Sabillian Professor of Astronomy and member of the Royal Academy’s in Paris and Berlin.”. … Read Full Description

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Full Title:

Tab. XIX




In good condition.


Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 310mm
Tab. XIX - Antique Map from 1750

Genuine antique



Rare c.18th celestial chart by John Bevis from his rare ‘unpublished’ star atlas, Atlas Celeste.

The chart is dedicated; “To the Reverend James Bradley Royal and Sabillian Professor of Astronomy and member of the Royal Academy’s in Paris and Berlin.”.

During the 1730’s Bevis had begun to think about compiling a star atlas that would surpass those of Bayer and Flamsteed. With financial backing from the instrument maker John Neales, Bevis was to spend most of the period between 1746-1750 on this ambitious project. The atlas which was initially to be called Uranographia Britannica, was patterned on Bayer’s, Uranometria Omnium Asterismorum.. which was first published in 1703 and used Bayer’s elliptical coordinate system, Greek letters to label the brightest stars. The first mention of Uranographia Britannica, is in a newspaper advertisement placed in the Northampton Mercury on 11th April 1748, by a Thomas Yeoman. Some of Bevis’s star charts began to be printed in 1749, and no expense was spared in making them accurate and artistically beautiful. However, this probably led John Neale into bankruptcy in 1750, and the copperplates were sequestered by the London Courts of Chancery. While Bevis escaped the implications of the bankruptcy, his atlas was fated never to be published. However, Bevis did retain a number of pulls of the charts, which upon his death in 1771, were given to his executor, John Horsfall. At Horsfall’s death in 1785, the catalogue for the sale of Bevis’s estate which comprised books and manuscripts, and unbound pages. Listed in the sale were also six copies of the 51-chart set and quantities of loose charts. There are 23 complete sets known to have survived and although Bevis atlas was not published under the original intended title of, Uranographia Britannica, and no formal editions exist, in 1786 a few near complete sets of Bevis’s plates appeared on the market under the title, Atlas Celeste.

Ashforth, L. Hall Library, Out of This World 28;
Ashworth, W.B. John Bevis and His Uranographia (ca. 1750) in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 125: no. 1 (February 1981), pp. 52–73;
Booth, J. The Star Atlas that never was, The Map Collector, No. 39, (Summer 1987), pp. 22–24;
Kilburn, K., Pasachoff, J. & Gingerich, O. The Forgotten Star Atlas: John Bevis’s Uranographia Britannica” in the Journal of the History of Astronomy 34 (2003), pp. 125–144


Kanas, N. Star Maps History, Artistry, and Cartography. San Francisco 2009 :: p. 160-162..

National Library Australia: Bib ID 8046825

John Bevis (1695 - 1771)

Bevis was a physician and amateur astronomer. In 1731 he became the first European to record the Crab Nebula, 27 years before Charles Messier listed it as M1 in his famous catalogue. On May 28, 1737, he made the only recorded visual telescopic observation of of the occultation with another when he noted Venus eclipsing Mercury. and observed and found a prediction rule for eclipses of Jupiter's moons. In 1738 he set up a private observatory at Stock Newington, North London, from where he made observations and wrote a number of papers on eclipses, comets and occultations for the Philosophical Transactions. He also confirmed the effects of aberration in right ascension, and was one of of the first people to see the Great Comet of 1744. In 1749 he published an edited version of Edmond Halley's posthumous astronomical tables. He also observed Halley's Comet in 1759 and the transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769. He was elected to the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1750 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1765. He died on 6th November 1771, after falling from his telescope while measuring the meridian altitude of the sun.    

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