Jason Clarke Antiques

William IV Rosewood Five Draw Telescope by Braham of Bath


For sale, a huge William IV rosewood and brass barrelled, five draw telescope by Braham of Bath.

This exquisitely made telescope measures 123cms extended and 30cms closed with a two and a half inch objective lens. Of substantial proportions, this telescope is lavished with a morocco coloured rosewood barrel and beautifully engineered brasswork, the eyetube itself measures two inches across with dust slide and engraving to the maker Braham, Bath. The objective end retains its original turned brass lens cap.

The Braham optician and instrument making business was established at Clare Street in Bristol in 1828 by John Braham. He specialised in eyeglasses but sold a wide range of instruments and was a distributor of Admiralty Charts, at that point under the stewardship of Robert Brettell Bate in London. In 1833 formed a partnership with his brother George who set up a satellite shop in Bath and both traded successfully until 1852 whereafter the partnership was dissolved. The circumstances are unknown but the change came just a year after the company’s at The Great Exhibition in London.

John Braham should be considered the driving force behind the business and aside from his family partnership, he also had involvement in wholesale eyeglass manufacturing in London and also formed a partnership with the watchmakers and chronometer makers, J Jackson & Son. He published a number of scientific papers and was awarded various patents throughout his career so should not be considered simply as a “regional maker”. The quality of this telescope is evidence enough of the company’s capabilities.

Braham moved to London in 1863 and died a year later, leaving his two sons with all of his business interests. The Braham Brothers continued to operate until the end of the Nineteenth Century.

A beautiful and imposing handheld telescope employing the best skills and materials available. It does have a minor chipto the objective lens at the edge probably caused by the movement of the wood and brass over time. Not an uncommon occurrence for telescopes of this age but it has no effect on the optics which remain sharp and clear.

Circa 1835, this telescope also featured amongst the collection of Reginald Cheetham, the Author of Old Telescopes, a must have publication for any discerning collector.

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