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Telescopio a riflessione Le Bas


Reflecting telescope
Le Bas (o Lebas)

Signed on the back of the tube:
Le Bas aux Galleries du Louvre AParis [sic]
Le Bas aux Galléries du Louvre à Paris


Height: 14.44 in (including support)
Length: 16.69 in
Depth: 8.11 in

State of conservation:

very good.

The main body of the instrument is composed of a tube (2.36 in (6 cm) in diameter x 13.3 in (33.8) cm in length) covered in leather and closed at the ends by brass plates. On the right side there is a small stick to adjust the front interior mirror.
The telescopic eyepiece holder is attached to the center of the rear plate by screws and consists of two concentric brass tubes (the outermost one measures 2.4 cm in diameter) one sliding inside the other.
Both ends of the telescope have covers which are attached by screws and may be removed for use.
The instrument rests on a tripod base made entirely of brass and equipped with a ball joint to adjust its inclination.

Little is known about the Le Bas family.
Philippe-Claude Le Bas (or Lebas, as he appears in some contemporary documents) was known as a manufacturer of lenses and instruments. His name appears for the first time on a silver reduction compass dated 1669 (Maurice Daumas, Les Instruments Scientifiques aux XVII et XVIII siècles, Paris, 1953, p. 100).
As Opticien du Roi (the King’s Optician), he was assigned an apartment in the Louvre; in 1672 Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), who himself had been called a few years earlier to Paris by Louis XIV and had become an authoritative member of the Académie des Sciences, wanted to personally see how he made lenses.
Philippe-Claude died in 1677, presumably still young, and the business was continued by his widow, who supplied lenses to both Huygens and the Observatoire Royal (Maurice Daumas, op. cit., p. 101). Almost certainly in 1688 the son took over the business from his mother and for more than thirty years he continued the production especially of lenses, often collaborating with other instrument makers, in particular with the son of the famous Chapotot (Maurice Daumas, ibidem). We have news of the younger Le Bas up to 1721.

Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari