Successful sea navigation relies on being able to determine latitude (how far north or south you are) and longitude (how far east or west). When the Greenwich Royal Observatory was founded on 22 June 1675, sailors were able to measure latitude at sea by observing the altitude of the sun at midday, but once out of sight of land they had no easy means of determining longitude.
This week's Book in Isolation transports you to the Outer Library of the Institution to delve into the history of the Institution's bindings.
Beautiful, intricate and varied, shells have adorned our clothes, our homes and our objects of art for centuries. From the end of the 17th century, natural scientists began to collect, organise, observe and draw them in earnest. George Montagu’s Testacea Britannica (1803) is one of the most important works of natural history to come out of the Age of Enlightenment – and it has a special significance for Exeter.
In his day, W. E. Norris was described as the ‘Gainsborough of English novelists’, an heir to Trollope and a writer of ‘Disraelian intensity’ … so why aren’t we reading his novels today?
Beth Howell investigates curiosity in the animals and wildlife described and depicted in 19th century books of exploration in the collections of the Devon and Exeter Institution - what animal can you draw?