The Astronomers' Club

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Queen's House

Smirke’s appealing painting shows the meeting of an archetypal astronomers’ club, meeting to look at and talk about the stars.

A group of men gather in a room filled with objects and instruments. They use a number of differently sized telescopes to observe the sky, while a stuffed crocodile looks down on the proceedings. Such crocodiles were the classic centrepiece of a cabinet of curiosities in which scholars and virtuosi met to discuss the latest astronomical discoveries of the day, and scientific matters more generally.

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