London: Edward Stanford, 1890.
Hardcover. In this scarce sequel to her immensely popular introduction to science, Arabella Buckley ushers her readers into a magician's moonlit turret chamber, wherein we find the magnifying glass, the telescope, the spectroscope, the photographic camera, and the microscope..."All of these instruments told of the magician's power in unveiling the secrets of distant space and exploring realms unknown..." Thus begins Through Magic Glasses, in which the imaginative Victorian science educator Arabella Buckley introduces her readers to the power of optical instrumentation to make magicians of us all by opening out to us "the fairyland of nature." Under the magician's feet lies "a large public school for boys of the artisan class," which as founder and principal, he has erected in the midst of the open countryside of Devon and furnished with a loving hand and heart. Through Magic Glasses has us join the magician's students in a series of lessons, from the opening chapter's study of the geography of the moon on the night of an eclipse, through a lesson on how the human eye and each of these five "magic glasses" work, out on a field excursion to a "fairy dell" on the moors where they discover fairy rings produced by a "gaily-decked tribe" of impish fungi, through a most poetic lesson on the life histories of lichen and mosses succeeded by a lesson on the history of a lava stream, from below the earth to above it, next to an analysis of the sun through spectroscope and the great fleet of stars through telescope, then the tiny inhabitants of a little pool of sea water through microscope, then off again on wild venture of the imagination, tracing the evolutionary origins and offshoots of the horse, and finally, through the magician's dreaming, following the stages of ancient man from the earliest days through to the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain. From the flaming citizens of the sky, the stars, to the microscopic denizens of a pool of water, each subject is carefully envisioned in over 85 illustrations. Will you join the school of the magician, and what will you see with his magic glasses?
This introduction to scientific optical instrumentation is the work of Arabella Burton Buckley (1840-1929), who at the age of twenty-four started her eleven-year tenure as secretary to influential geologist Charles Lyell and who after his death became a science educator in her own right, lecturing, editing such prominent scientific treatises as Mary Somerville's Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1877) and Heinrich Leutemann's Animals from Life (1887), and writing imaginative introductory science books like The Fairy-Land of Science, Life and Her Children, Winners in Life's Race, and this one, Through Magic Glasses, which asks about science, "Can any magic tale be more marvellous, or any thought grander, or more sublime than this?"
7 3/8" X 5 1/4". xiv, 234pp, plus six pages of ads. Dark brown cloth over boards, with magician and young acolyte stamped under streaming sunlight, all in gilt, with upper board lettered in gilt over banners stamped in black, spine lettered in gilt, with telescope stamped in kind, and scientific instrument stamped in blind to rear. Moderate wear to binding, with rubbing to sun, corners turned in and slightly frayed, small tears to head and tail of spine, and slight lean to spine. All edges gilt. Toning and soiling to yellow coated endpapers, with previous owner's name stamped to front pastedown and verso of free. Some cracking to tender inner hinges. Binding remains firm and sound. Foxing to preliminaries, including frontispiece, else pages clean and unmarked. Illustrated in tissue-guarded frontispiece, two tissue-guarded color plates, and 83 in-text woodcut figures throughout. Good. Item #13384