Take a stellar journey through our star-themed collections at the Queen's House and Royal Observatory in this trail inspired by stars. From beautiful art to astronomical instruments, these items are truly out of this world.
Follow the trail
Easily transportable, hangings like this one would have been used as visual aids for popular scientific lectures, held at various locations.
In his ‘ESO’ series, Tillmans explores the work of the European Southern Observatory’s telescopes at Cerro Parañal in Chile, a 21st-century equivalent of the Royal Observatory Greenwich in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
‘Drawing on Space’ forms part of Michelle Stuart’s recent body of work, in which she arranges astronomy-themed photographs in a grid, lending a narrative character to her poetic pieces.
Smirke’s appealing painting shows the meeting of an archetypal astronomers’ club, meeting to look at and talk about the stars.
James Clark Ross was one of the great polar explorers, a star of his day who used the Pole Star to discover the North Pole.
This exquisite globe shows the hero Hercules supporting the starry celestial sphere on his shoulders.
Helman’s print after a painting by Le Prince shows the extent to which star gazing could become impolite and risqué in the 18th century. Although an activity encouraged between men and women, it also offered the possibility for intrigue after dark.
This fanciful print sets the stage for sociable star gazing. Well-dressed gentlemen and ladies converse in a fashionable garden, complete with classical ruins. They use a number of astronomical instruments – an armillary sphere, telescope and globe.
This famous image by Wright of Derby encapsulates how astronomy - studying the stars - became a social activity in the 18th century.
Observe the motions of the planets in the night sky without ever leaving your parlour.
Stand beneath the magnificent onion dome and marvel at one of the biggest telescopes in the world. Join one of our special Evenings with the Stars and look through the telescope yourself.
Get your bearings with the remains of one of our greatest ever instrument maker's mural quadrant.
It's beautiful, sure, but can you imagine what it is used for?