Edmund Halley's Model of Solar System Showing The Orbits of Comets & Planets
Important separately issued model of the solar system, first prepared by William Whiston in 1712.
The map illustrates the orbits of the comets known to Edmund Halley and Whiston at the beginning of the 18th Century, based upon Newton's model. Each comet is illustrated by its orbit with information about its modern appearances, distances from the sun, etc. A number of Newton's teachings are annotated within the printed image and additional information appears outside the solar hemisphere.
William Whiston was an English theologian, historian, and mathematician, who succeeded Isaac Newton as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. His A New Theory of the Earth from its Original to the Consummation of All Things (1696), articulated Whiston's belief that the global flood of Noah had been caused by a comet, a position which won him praise from Newton. Whiston and Halley were both advocates for the periodicity of comets, although Whiston also believed that comets were responsible for past catastrophes in earth's history.
The map was first prepared by Whiston in 1712, likely to illustrate his public lectures on Newton's astronomical teachings, and thereafter copied and modified for most of the 18th Century. As noted by Whiston in his Memoirs (p. 191);
About the same year, 1712, I published A Scheme of the Solar System, with the orbits of 21 comets 5 in a large meet of paper, engraved on copper, by Mr. Senex. Price 2 s. 6 d. Which Scheme has been of great reputation and advantage among the curious ever since.
The present edition was issued by Thomas Bowles, Robert Sayer and John Bowles.
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).