Large JP Cutts naval telescope with oak barrel

Large JP Cutts naval telescope with oak barrel

Stock Number: 56


Engraved as from JP Cutts and Sons, this single draw telescope is 36" long when fully open, 20" closed, and 2.5" diameter.


36 inches long when open, 20 inches when closed



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Navigational instruments, Telescopes - Refracting


Offered for sale is a large single draw, wooden barrelled telescope made by John Preston Cutts. The engraving on the draw is “JP Cutts & Sons, Opticians to Her Majesty, Sheffield” – ie Queen Victoria. Established in Sheffield, his sons joined the business in around 1845, when the ‘& Sons’ was added: plus a sales office was established in Hatton Garden, London. JP Cutts died in 1859. 

The telescope has a light coloured wooden barrel, which appears to be of oak, in excellent condition. The brass fittings are also bright and clean. The single draw has a split half way along, to give access to the second lens cartridge of the eyepiece. The brass eyepiece itself is of the bell shape, and has a sliding cover, which moves easily. The objective assembly is retained by brass screws, which have been used to replace the original steel screws.

Total length is 36″, but when closed it is 20″, with an OD of 2.5″. Overall weight is 1.1 kg, but it is easily hand-held, as the barrel itself is light. Focus is smooth and easily obtained: the magnification is estimated at 10x, average for the time and style, but the design gives a wide field of view.

The majority of the photos were taken two years ago, just after the brass was repolished: the telescope now has a lovely patina, in my view, but if desired it can be repolished. A current photo will be added tomorrow. Originally acquired in 1999, the telescope is rather reluctantly now on sale! It is considered one of the best examples of this style I have seen.

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GB Telescope Collector

I first started using a telescope in the 60s, to identify aeroplanes arriving at Yeadon airport, in Yorkshire. Then I started to collect and restore vintage brass scopes in the 1990s. The collection boomed later, in the early days of the internet, rising to around 300 in number. I then made a lot of friends via the internet, advising them on how to identify, date or repair their scopes. At the age of 72 I need to disperse these wonderful bits of engineering history, because they still work today as well as they did 200+ years ago! That is the fascination....Some of my collection have already been sold to collectors spread around, in the UK, USA, Ireland, Israel, France and Germany. Several have been returned to the UK descendants of the people who made them, or relations of their previous owners, because they found the stories on my website. Now the collection needs to be dispersed more systematically, so therefore is the place to find the real enthusiasts. The first dozen or so telescopes will be added shortly, so please visit this site again soon! Alternatively, if you are looking for a specific telescope, tell me, as maybe I have one!
Nick Denbow, based in Alresford, Hampshire: contact via email on

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