Keepers’ Corner – Sir William Herschel

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For Keeper’s Corner in August, we are looking at the theme of ‘Science’.

Sir William Herschel (1738-1822) was a German-born British astronomer. He came to England in 1757 where he developed an interest in telescopes and distant celestial bodies. He built his own telescope and in 1781, discovered the planet Uranus and its two moons, Titania and Oberon. He later studied the nature of nebulae and discovered that they were formed of stars, He also discovered two moons of Saturn, Mimas and Enceladus, and coined the term “asteroid”.

In the art collection we have a glass paste portrait medallion or cameo of Sir William Herschel by William Tassie, around 1814. This once belonged to Dr John Lee of Hartwell House who also had a great interest in astronomy. Lee built an astronomical observatory at Hartwell in the 1830s.

There is also a watercolour of Dr Herschel’s House, Slough by J Gendall (1790-1865). It was called Observatory House and Herschel lived here for 40 years. His telescope can be seen in the structure on the left.



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