A print of a coloured cotton wall hanging, showing the solar system with the planetary orbits, including Neptune, discovered in 1846, and that of two comets. A line and several small dots indicate the various asteroids, or minor planets, between Mars and Jupiter. Each planet is shown with the moons that had been discovered to date. One of nine wall hangings, all on astronomical themes, that were among many produced by the Working Men's Educational Union in the 1850s. They were printed lithographically on cotton, probably to avoid paper duty. The hangings would have been used in lectures, held at various locations, to illustrate the latest advances in knowledge. The Working Men's Educational Union (founded 1853) was a philanthropic society with the object of “the elevation of the working classes, as regards their physical, intellectual, moral, and religious condition”. Their chief means of achieving this was to encourage popular literary and scientific lectures “by preparing suitable Diagrams and other aids to lecturers” and to promote lending libraries and “mutual instruction classes”. This example shows the telescopic appearance of the moon.
Artist: Working Men's Educational Union
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