Museum of the Moon
The Painted Hall serves as the ideal backdrop to the Museum of the Moon. Completed in 1726, this masterpiece by Sir James Thornhill places you at the centre of the 18th century universe, highlighting the role that astronomy and scientific discovery played in the culture and politics of the day. Keep reading to learn more about the iconography in the Painted Hall and how it connects to Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon…
One of the early pioneers of the telescope, the Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei is depicted at the Western end of the ceiling observing the stars and planets.
In contrast at the Eastern end, the last of the naked-eye astronomers Tycho Brahe keeps company with Nicolas Copernicus, who holds up a model of his system, showing the sun at the centre of the universe. The drawings on the board beside him illustrate the genius of Sir Isaac Newton.
Living and working at the nearby Royal Observatory Greenwich is John Flamsteed, the first appointed Astronomer Royal. Thornhill pays tribute to Flamsteed’s talents by illustrating his accurate prediction of a Solar Eclipse.
Diana Goddess of the Moon
Flamsteed’s great instrument the Mural Arc, tracks the path of Diana Goddess of the Moon – marked by the small crescent moon on her forehead – as she descends upon the Rivers Severn and Avon, bringing the story of the moon full circle.
Did you know that some of the Moon craters have the same names as the characters listed above? Click here to download the image on your phone or ask the staff to provide you with an information sheet and find the unique connections between the Moon and the Painted Hall!
Fun fact: The moon crater is called ‘Galilaei’ whereas the astronomer’s last name was ‘Galilei’, this is because ‘Galilaei’ is Latin for Galilean, which is the adjective of Galileo!
Photo credits: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
To celebrate Museum of the Moon in the Painted Hall we have curated a special programme of events, including Moonlight parties, wellbeing events and much more.
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