One of the Royal Observatory buildings is decorated with terracotta tiles and sculptures. Astronomia, a figure representing Astronomy particularly caught my eye.

The terracotta tiles and decorative sculpture are the work of Doulton & Co, of Lambeth. An art nouveau-inspired figure of Astronomia on the northwest side at the bottom of the old staircase is signed `WJ Neatby 1895′. The names of 24 important figures in English, and more particularly, Greenwich astronomy are displayed above the first floor windows. The seven previous Astronomers Royal – Flamsteed, Halley, Bradley, Bliss, Maskelyne, Pond and Airy take pole position with Newton at the cardinal and ordinal points. A cast of instrument makers, clockmakers and others of influential astronomers take up the rest – Wren, Horrox, Adams, Herschel, Sheepshanks, Baily, Simms, Troughton, Ramsden, Bird, Sharp, Graham, Dollond, Earnshaw, Arnold and Harrison.

Each of the windows on the ground floor (except those on the ends of the wings), has a Tudor Rose above them. These are of three slightly different designs, corresponding to the three phases in which the wings were built. At the upper levels, the ends of each wing are highly ornate. A bust of Flamsteed sculpted by J Raymond Smith is mounted above the front door on the north wing. The end of the south wing has a tribute to Queen Victoria. The end of the east wing commemorates the Royal Society and the west wing the Royal Astronomical society.

Terracotta Detail

4 Comments CherryPie on Sep 13th 2014

4 Responses to “Astronomia”

  1. james higham says:

    The less said about the RS the better but the terracotta is impressive.

  2. Ayush says:

    very nice find, Cherie.