Jason Clarke Antiques

William IV Two Draw Marine Telescope by J. Ronchetti of Manchester


For sale, a William IV period two draw marine telescope by J. Ronchetti of Manchester.

This wonderfully crafted telescope is in super condition with a 1.5 inch objective lens and overall diameter of 2.5 inches, it comes complete with original objective sun shade and slider and a sliding dust cap to the period bell shaped eyepiece. The leather covering has survived remarkably well with only a small amount of shrinkage (about 2.5mm) at the objective end. The telescope measures, 42cms closed and 93cms when fully drawn and the optics are also in good and clear useable condition, a superb telescope from a highly skilled regional maker

The Ronchetti family were well known and distinguished makers of scientific instruments during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and were part of the early wave of Italian migrants from Northern Italy that helped to shape the barometer and instrument making industry in Britain during the period. Alongside the equally famous names of Gatty and Casartelli, the Ronchetti family hailed from the village of Tavernerio, close to Como and they formed close working and marital relationships between the families. The first to arrive in 1780 was a John Merry Ronketti, who is known to have traded alongside James Gatty in Holborn, London. His cousin Baptiste Ronchetti or John Baptiste (son of Bartolomeo Ronchetti and Francesca Casartelli) soon followed in 1785 and by 1794 had established a barometer making business on Manchester’s High Street.

In 1805, he sent for his son, Charles Joshua and nephew, Lewis Casartelli who both assisted him in business until Baptiste’s return to Italy in 1807. Charles Joshua (or Joshua as he is more commonly known), the maker of this fine telescope, maintained his father’s business until 1809 and after a year spent in Holland with relatives, returned to Britain, living at various addresses in Shrewsbury, Carlisle and Liverpool before finally returning to Manchester to work for the Zanetti family, (later to become Zanetti & Agnew forebears of the famous art dealers Thomas Agnew & Son of Bond St).

In 1817, Joshua began trading on his own account from premises in Balloon St in Manchester (c. 1817 – 1825) and then in St Ann’s Passage and Market Street (1832 – 1841)

Joshua’s sons, John Baptist & Joshua Ronchetti took over their father’s business in the late 1830’s after he went on to set up a weather proofing factory in the Clayton area of Manchester. The brothers according to a notice in The London Gazette had previously formed a partnership which was dissolved in 1837 and had been trading from the centre of scientific instrument making in London during the period at No. 2 Hatton Gardens, very close to where Negretti & Zambra would open for business thirteen years later. It suggests that the offer of their father’s business at 43 Market Street, Manchester was a better opportunity than their dealings in London and they continued in business until 1851 whereafter it is thought that they then took over the weather proofing factory. The business was finally sold to their brother in law Joseph Casartelli but during the family’s period of trading in Manchester, they produced some exquisite scientific instruments.

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