Jason Clarke Antiques

Early Nineteenth Century Cased Library Telescope on Stand by Thomas Rubergall London


For sale, an early Nineteenth Century cased library telescope on stand by Thomas Rubergall of Coventry Street, London.

This superbly executed example has a 108cms barrel with a three inch objective glass, the front end also being engraved to, “Rubergall, Coventry Street, London”. With the standard eyepiece in place, it extends the telescope to 134cms retracted.

The body is secured to the barrel by two knurled nuts and descends on a generous pillar and tripod legs. Two telescopic stabilisers extend down and are pinned to the tripod feet meant for stability and fine adjustment. A feature that is generally only found on the finest examples.

The case contains various eyepiece attachments including a rare “pancratic eye-tube” invented by the renowned optician, inventor and cook, William Kitchiner, (a fascinating man who is also considered to be the inventor of the potato chip or crisp). The eyetube which may be added in replacement to the ordinary eyetube of the main telescope has magnification stops engraved along the three smallest additional draws. Conceived by Kitchiner to increase magnification of the standard telescope.

An extremely fine example, Rubergall’s work is perhaps less well known but his output is one of consistent quality and it is unsurpsiring that his instruments are often found with references to royalty.

Thomas Rubergall was active from 1802 until 1854 in London and traded from three different addresses throughout those 52 years. Prices St, Soho from 1802 to 1805, 27 Coventry Street, London from 1805 to 1823 and then from there he seems to have moved to number 24 Coventry Street thereafter. Rubergall seems to have been from Huguenot French descent and may be related to earlier well known Chelsea market gardeners of the eighteenth century with the same name. He was renowned enough to have been appointed optician to George III and mathematical instrument maker and optician to the Duke of Clarence (later William IV) and to Queen Victoria.

The site of the Rubergall’s shop was situated between Piccadilly and Leicester Square.

A superbly executed instrument from one of the most prominent scientific instrument retailers of the first half of the nineteenth century.

Circa 1835

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