About this artwork

By publishing this picture in a book called 'The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite', Nasmyth was hoping to make a point about the uneven appearance of the moon's surface. He claimed that its hot liquid body shrank and gradually cooled and dried, wrinkling in the process like an old apple.

James Nasmyth

James Nasmyth

James Nasmyth was one of the leading engineers of the nineteenth century, and his principal inventions were the steam hammer and the pile driver which changed the landscape of the industrial world. He was the son of the landscape painter, Alexander Nasmyth, who taught him drawing. He was an enthusiast for photography from the 1830s and a close friend of David Octavius Hill. His private enthusiasm for astronomy led him to a thirty-year observation of the moon and the production of a series of careful drawings which he used to make a model of the moon's surface.

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