A fine antique silver-plated telescope by Gilbert, circa 1800
Stock Number: 118
Offered for sale is this fine "Gentleman's" telescope, with three draws and a hardwood barrel, made by Gilbert of Leadenhall Street in London in approx 1800. Approx 29" long expanded, 9.5" closed, the first draw is engraved by the maker in the C18th style.
Country of manufacture
UK and Ireland
This is a beautiful telescope, engraved “KING’S Patent – Gilbert, & Co – London”: Gilbert and the telescope origin is much discussed on the TelescopeCollector.co.uk website story about this scope. Since the engraving starts with the ‘K’ of King’s closest to the eyepiece, in the C18 style, it would be made no later than 1800, and in the Navigation Warehouse at 148 Leadenhall Street (pictured here with a modern image). It was probably made for a ship owner, or country gentleman.
The telescope is very effective, with a good magnification. The condition is good, the silvering intact on all the draws, but there are dents in the surface of the draws. There is a single longitudinal crack visible in the main barrel. At the objective, and the eyepiece, the copper substrate shows through at the edges of the raised ridges. The objective has attractive detailing engraved around the holder. The eyepiece has a silvered face, and has a dent at the edge.
Ask the Dealer
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. Since then I have made a lot of friends via the internet, advising them on how to identify, date or repair their scopes. At the age of 74 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 relatives of their previous owners, because they found the stories on my website. Now the collection needs to be dispersed more systematically. If you are looking for a specific telescope, just ask, maybe I have one! If you want better pictures of the telescopes shown here, these can be emailed. Nick Denbow, based in Alresford, Hampshire: contact via email on [email protected]