The coast (of Australia) is clear
By FERGUSON, James , 1775

A New Globe of the Earth by James Ferguson.

  • Author: FERGUSON, James
  • Publication place: [London]
  • Publisher: James Ferguson, J. Mynde Sc. [engraver]
  • Publication date: c1775
  • Physical description: Globe, 12 hand-coloured engraved paper gores, over papier mâché and plaster sphere, varnished, housed in original shagreen case with rims painted red and two original brass hooks and eyes.
  • Dimensions: Diameter: 76mm (3 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 15659


James Ferguson (1710-1776) was a Scottish autodidact who settled in London after a peripatetic life involving spells as a shepherd, miller, engineer, astronomer and lecturer. In his autobiography, he claims that, at the age of 20, he “made a globe in three weeks at my father’s, having turned the ball thereof out of a piece of wood, which ball I covered with paper, and delineated a map of the world upon it—made the meridian ring and horizon of wood—covered them with paper, and graduated them” (Ferguson, p.21). In 1755, he purchased the vast majority of the plates and instruments previously owned by John Senex, a leading producer of pocket globe. Ferguson subsequently designed his own pocket globe and produced several editions, but in 1757 he sold his business to Benjamin Martin, overwhelmed by his numerous responsibilities. Ferguson is most widely- known as a remarkable example of self-education, and for his production of scientific instruments and apparatus, notably orreries.

The globe features updated cartography from Ferguson’s c1756 globe. Benjamin Martin acquired Ferguson’s plates in 1757 and produced an updated globe in c1775. In this new edition, the track of Captain Cook’s first voyage is marked as the “Endeavour tract”, and the coastlines of Australia and New Zealand have been updated with his discoveries.

The celestial cartography, lining the case, is the same as Ferguson’s 1756 globe.


  1. Dekker GLB0057 (edition III- see p.132, table 9.1)
  2. see fig. 9.100
  3. James Ferguson, Life of James Ferguson, F.R.S. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  4. John Millburn, Wheelwright of the Heavens. The Life and Work of James Ferguson (London, 1988).