Presentation telescope

Half marathon notice

Visitor notice: On Sunday 4 March Cutty Sark and the museum car park will be closed for the Vitality Big Half Marathon. All other museums will be open as normal and DLR and rail links will be running. Find out about road closures

Essential information

Opening times: 
National Maritime Museum, First floor, Traders gallery

Admire this rather natty telescope and watch.

The telescope is of a standard configuration for the early nineteenth century with three draw tubes and an achromatic objective lens.

The maker’s name, ‘Fraser & Son London’, is engraved on the eyepiece end and helps to date the piece to no earlier than 1799.

The decoration of the barrel comprises blue enamel, pearls and gold, with the addition of a watch, which screws onto the end of the barrel to form a cover for the objective lens. The watch and telescope appear to have been imported from Switzerland. The enamelling is characteristic of Swiss work of the period. Certain details of the watch, notably the style of the dial and hands, suggest that it was made in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

It is currently assumed that the telescope entered China as a gift or purchase at some time in the early nineteenth century.