Accession No


Brief Description

11-inch terrestrial globe with celestial planisphere, made to the design of the Earl of Castlemaine, by Joseph Moxon, London, 1681


England; London


Moxon, Joseph


cartography; astronomy

Earliest Date

Jan. 1, 1681

Latest Date

Dec. 31, 1681

Inscription Date


metal (brass); wood; glass; paper


diameter 286mm case length 416mm;breadth 425mm; height 605mm

Special Collection


On loan from Trinity College, University of Cambridge from 1951. Purchased for Trinity College Library by the College Council in 1681.


‘The English GLOBE
By the Right honourable the
Earl of Castlemain
Made and sold by J. Moxon’

Description Notes

11-inch terrestrial globe with celestial planisphere, by Joseph Moxon, London, 1681, made to the design of the Earl of Castlemaine. Plaster sphere with paper gores.

Terrestrial globe inclined so that Southern England is parallel to the horizon. 12 engraved hand coloured gores with calottes. California shown as an island and West coast of Canada omitted. East coast of Australia omitted and only parts of Indonesia shown.
Fitted onto a turned (?)pine pillar support and then 4 twisted brass ‘feet’, spreading out over celestial planisphere in base. Glazed with turned wood frame, engraved and hand printed planisphere, stars to 4th magnitude; hand-painted constellations. Glass with painted stereographic projection graduated 0 - 90 - 0 twice and I - XII twice. Underneath base fittings for a six inch sector (missing), a wooden star marking rule, and a tab to adjust the planisphere. Case: 4 glazed panels in each side (one panel broken).



Katie Taylor; 'An immobile globe; designed by the Earl of Castlemaine and Joseph Moxon'; Explore Whipple Collections online article; Whipple Museum of the History of Science; University of Cambridge; 2009:


Designed by Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine (1634–1705) and made by globe-maker and author Joseph Moxon (1627–1691), this globe is rare in having its sphere fixed in position on a pedestal, rather than being mounted to rotate on an axis. The globe is orientated so that the south of England is uppermost on the sphere, and is mounted above a planisphere showing the night sky for the latitude of London. Castlemaine’s intention, outlined in his book The English Globe (1679), was that the globe be used outside on a fine day so that the rays of the Sun fell on the sphere as they did on the Earth itself. Many of the English Globe’s functions pertained to dialling, the art of constructing and using sundials, which had become popular in the seventeenth century. Globes were used to explain time and related phenomena such as the rising and setting of the Sun, the changing of the seasons, the variation in the length of the day and time differences between places. They promoted a variety of world-systems; the English Globe is an example of a Ptolemaic world-view, a design that was possibly connected to Castlemaine’s devote Catholicism. This globe also demonstrates how Restoration mathematics used a wide range of scales to articulate several concepts in a single object.

Created by: Allison Ksiazkiewicz on 14/01/2014


Images (Click to view full size):