Les Terres du Ciel


Frederic Thompson’s amusement ride attempted to give exposition visitors in 1901 the experience of a journey to the Moon; Camille Flammarion’s Les Terres du Ciel (1884) is a pictorial voyage around the solar system which includes the Moon among its ports of call. Subtitled Voyage Astronomique sur les Autres Mondes et Description des Conditions Actuelles de la Vie sur les Diverses Planètes du Système Solaire Flammarion’s study presented the science of the time but complemented this with a strange selection of illustrations ranging from serious attempts to show the surface of the other planets together with scenes of outright fantasy. Serious or not, the engraved plates are pretty good. A few of these illustrations turn up in books on the history of astronomy so—once again—I’m pleased to find their source. Flammarion’s book may be browsed here or downloaded here.




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