A rare mid 18th century silver, ivory and tortoiseshell single draw monocular spyglass by Edward Nairne, London

Rare Silver, Ivory and Tortoiseshell Single Draw Monocular Spyglass by Nairne c1755

1” objective, .372” ocular set in ivory mounts, single silver draw signed by the maker “Nairne, London.“ Tortoiseshell cylinder capped with a silver band.

Condition: Cracks to both ivory mounts; tortoiseshell undamaged but requires re-polishing. The objective with minor chip to circumference. The ocular lens possibly a replacement. Picture quality is acceptably sharp, some chromatic aberration.

Comments: A really unusual piece and by the most sought after of makers, dating to around 1755, and surviving in very untouched original condition. Suitable for restoration.

Ocular spyglasses preceded binocular opera glasses, which gained popularity rapidly around 1840.

Edward Nairne (1726-1806) was apprenticed to the optician Matthew Loft in 1741 and established his own business at 20 Cornhill in London after Loft’s death in 1748. In 1774 he took his apprentice Thomas Blunt into partnership, a relationship that lasted until 1793.

Dimensions: 2” long collapsed, 2¾” extended

Stock No: SI1315

Price: £450

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