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Description

First edition of this 3 sheet chart of the Zodiac, published by John Senex in London.

John Senex was one of the first English publishers to produce celestial charts. As noted by Kanas,

In part through his collaboration with Halley, Senex produced a number of celestial maps . . . which were quite popular with astronomers and navigators. . . One of these maps was originally published in 1718 and showed the zodiac constellations in three long strips arranged vertically over two pages on a map labeled Zodiacus Stellatus Fixas Omnes Hactenus Cognitas . . . Each srip was centered 8 degrees above and below the ecliptic using a cylindrical projection with geocentric orientation. . . Since the stars were derived from Halley's unauthorized edition of Flamsteed's catalog, [Flamsteed having refused to publish his work during his lifetime] . . . , the appearance of this and other maps by Senex created great consternation at Greenwich [where Flamsteed was the Royal Astronomer].

Senex's work would remain the only representation of the constellations of the Zodiac until Pierre Charles Le Monnier's work of 1755.

The map includes a fantastic description legend at the bottom, which begins as follows:

The DESCRIPTION and USE of the Starry ZODIAK. Finding that nothing would more conduce toencourage Persons to ye Study of Astronomy than to remove those difficulties which commonly deterr BEginners; and haveing by ye favour of a Person of Quality, procured a Copy of the Britannick Catalogue of Fixt Stars, I was persuaded ye I shold do the Science a considerable piece of service, if I represented to a competent scale and in their true Sitauation and Magnitude, all those Starrs to whic the Moon or Planetts can at any time make their Appulses. For by this means those that are provided with a Telescope only may be able to Judge of ye accuracy of our Astronomical Tables & Ephemerides; and by ye farther help of yes Micrometer & Pendulum Clock, may make such Observations as may be of use to compleat ye Theory of ye Celestial Motions; ye opportunitys of Observing being readily had by ye help of ye Zodiack.

The British Catalogue ye being adopted to ye beginning of ye year 1600, I was advised to follow it without reducing it to ye present Time; because it would always be necessary to allow for ye increase of ye Starrs Longitude in succeding Years, and it is no more work to subtract 30 or 40 then 15 or 20; This reduction being easily made, by subtracting 15 min: for every 18 years lapsed since 1690, from ye place of ye Moon or Planet found in te Ephemerides, when you would compare them with ye Starrs places in the Zodiack.

That ye Planets might be transferrd with more certainty into it I have drawn ye lines drawing each Degree both of Longitude and Latitude into quarters sufficiently distinguished from ye entire Degrees by ye smallness of ye stroaks for which reason there will be no need to use Compasses. Our Scale being so large as to afford a 10th of an Inch to each quarter of a Degree. Thus for Example if you desire to see how ye 3 Superiour Planets are situated among ye fixt Starrs ye 12st of April 1718; We find by ye Ephemerides of Mr. G. Parker for which are computed from Astronomia Carolina with sufficient care ye Saturn . . .

John Senex produced a number of fine maps, celestial charts, sea charts and and globes at the beginning of the 18th Century. This fine chart was re-issued for over 50 years, all examples of which are rare on the market. Other publishers of later editions included John Bowles, Carrington Bowles and Robert Sayer.

We note only a single example (this copy) offered in a dealer catalogue in the past 30 years.

Condition Description
Top left corner torn and reinstated, affecting three letters.
Reference
Warner, D.J. (Sky) Senex 2; Shirley, R.W. (BL Atlases) C.SEN-1a, #5,6. Kanas, Star Maps, pp. 205-206.
John Senex Biography

John Senex (1678-1740) was one of the foremost mapmakers in England in the early eighteenth century. He was also a surveyor, globemaker, and geographer. As a young man, he was apprenticed to Robert Clavell, a bookseller. He worked with several mapmakers over the course of his career, including Jeremiah Seller and Charles Price. In 1728, Senex was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, a rarity for mapmakers. The Fellowship reflects his career-long association as engraver to the Society and publisher of maps by Edmund Halley, among other luminaries. He is best known for his English Atlas (1714), which remained in print until the 1760s. After his death in 1740 his widow, Mary, carried on the business until 1755. Thereafter, his stock was acquired by William Herbert and Robert Sayer (maps) and James Ferguson (globes).