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George Baxter: [Six Celestial Diagrams of the Muggletonians]

Map: CELEST979
Cartographer: George Baxter
Title: [Six Celestial Diagrams of the Muggletonians]
Date: 1846
Published: London
Width: 11 inches / 28 cm
Height: 6 inches / 16 cm
Map ref: CELEST979
Set of six of celestial charts demonstrating the Muggletonian sect’s geocentric astronomical theory, which adamantly refuted the Newtonian standpoint.

The Muggletonians were an odd religious sect founded in the aftermath of the English Civil War by two cousins who claimed themselves to be the “two witnesses” mentioned in the Book of Revelations. Isaac Frost, a scientist and author (with his brother) of The Works of J. Reeve and L. Muggleton (1832), was a practicing Muggletonian and published these beautifully illustrated charts to support the group’s theory of the universe.

The plates, first issued under the title Two Systems of Astronomy, illustrate the “The Newtonian System of the Universe”, and “The System According to the Holy Scripture”, the text caption on plate 6 reading “This diagram will show that if the Earth revolves round the sun, as the Solar System states, then it will necessarily follow, that the Earth will differ in its position with the sun and any given fixed star on its equator, every day throughout the whole year. Now consider it is so. If it is not so, then it will make much in favor of the Holy Scriptures, that the Sun revolves round the Earth.”

They were presumably only circulated amongst members of the Muggletonian sect which, due to a strict rule against proselytising, remained small until the last member died in 1979. As such, these prints would only have been issued in limited numbers. Printed by George Baxter, using his patented colour oil technique, they were originally unrecorded by Baxter’s first bibliographer Courtney Lewis.

Published by Isaac Frost for Two Systems of Astronomy, a lavishly illustrated book outlining the anti-Newtonian cosmology of the Muggletonians.

Original hand colour. [CELEST979]