Karen Dunn &
Boscobel Acquires Important 18th Century Globes
With the assistance of a generous gift from Mr. Robert G. Goelet, Chairman, Goelet, LLC, New York, and Vice President of Boscobel’s Board of Directors, Boscobel has acquired a rare pair of Celestial and Terrestrial globes c. 1780, from Northeast Auctions in Portsmouth, New Hampshire..
The globes were made by "Wm Bardin, No. 16 Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London." They are tabletop models, measuring 25 inches high, on tripod stands with a turned pedestal and cabriole legs ending in pad feet and are displayed in the upstairs Library/Drawing Room.
"We have been searching for appropriate globes that would replicate the ones States Dyckman purchased in 1787. We consider ourselves fortunate to find examples that are in good condition and which date from the 18th Century", commented Mr. Charles Lyle, Executive Director, of Boscobel.
In a handwritten list Dyckman prepared on September 27, 1787, of various purchases of household and other items to be shipped to Kings Ferry (the original site of Boscobel), there is a reference to payments to a "Mr. Adams" for "an Extra pair of Globes" and "for packing Case" to ship them home.
Although the original bill for the globes does not survive, there are two separate bills in the Dyckman papers dated 1887 for the purchase of various instruments from George Adams, who describes himself on his letterhead as the "Mathematical Instrument Maker, to His Majesty..."
Not long after his return to the Hudson Valley, and just prior to his marriage to Elizabeth, Dyckman needed money and was force, in 1793, to sell his entire library to Chancellor Robert Livingston of Clermont, a well-known New York patriot and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In a letter from Robert Livingston to his brother, regarding his purchase of Dyckman’s library, Livingston notes: “(Dyckman) has also a handsome pair of globes...perhaps you might get him to throw them in... Presumably he did because there are no additional references to the globes in the Dyckman inventories and papers.
A Terrestrial globe represents the geographical and political features of the earth at a given period of time. As described in the 1797 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Terrestrial globe, by means of maps accurately delineated on a spherical ball, enables a gentleman to understand "the true situation of the different places of the earth with regard to one another.., as, how far distant they are from us, what hour of the day it is, what season of the year, etc. at any particular place." A Celestial globe features the constellations in expertly drawn cartouches. It shows the relative positions of the stars as seen from the earth with each star plotted on the globe at the point corresponding to the spot on earth where it appears to be directly overhead.
In discussing the importance of the acquisition, Mr. Lyle said, "The globes open up an important new dimension to the interpretation of States Dyckman and his extraordinary library. They also help us to better understand and explain the enthusiasm and keen interest that gentlemen of the period had in science and in subjects such as geography and astronomy."
For more information about Boscobel and this latest acquisition, call (845) 265-3638 or visit the Boscobel web site.