Astronomy illustrated in the 1840s
"The want of a series of Plates for the illustration of the Science of Astronomy, of accurate, yet popular character, calculated for effective display, and still within a moderate compass, has led to the production of the present Work. The design comprehends 104 coloured Scenes, representing the Astronomical Phenomena of the Universe. These have been carefully executed from original drawings, paintings, and observatory studies; aided, occasionally, by appropriate pictorial embellishment, but with strict adherence to fidelity of detail. [..]
The illustrations form the miniature scenery of a public exhibition, such as is occasionally witnessed in lecture-rooms; the text presenting the substance, the order, and the actual delivery of what becomes, in the present instance, a FAMILY ASTRONOMICAL LECTURE. The prominent features of the present Work are, the novelty and simplicity of the plan, and the elegance of its execution. With its aid a family need not henceforth quit their own parlour, or drawing-room fireside, to enjoy the sublime 'beauty of the heavens;' but, within their domestic circle, may, without any previous acquirements in Astronomy, become their own instructors in a knowledge of its great and leading truths and phenomena.
The Lecture may be read aloud by a parent, teacher or any other member of a party, the Scenes being exhibited, at the same time, in the numercial succession corresponding to their order of description. It would be impossible to devise a more rational, or, to a well-regulated mind, a more cheerful mode of passing an evening; or of inculcating the Divine lesson, of looking 'through Nature up to Nature's God.'"
[Charles F Blunt, Introduction to 'The Beauty of the Heavens']