Taking Newton on tour: the scientific travel diaries of Martin Folkes, 1733-1735

Roos, Anna Marie (2017) Taking Newton on tour: the scientific travel diaries of Martin Folkes, 1733-1735. The British Journal for the History of Science, 50 (4). pp. 569-601. ISSN 0007-0874


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Martin Folkes (1690-1754) was Newton’s protégé, an English antiquary, mathematician, numismatist and astronomer, who would in the latter part of his career become President of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries at the same time. Folkes took a Grand Tour from 1732/3 to 1735, recording the Italian leg of his journey from Padua to Rome in his journal. This paper examines Folkes’s travel diary to analyse his intellectual development as a Newtonian and as a proponent of what I will term ‘antiquarian science’, a form of perigrination in which he used metrology to understand not only the aesthetics but the engineering principles of antique buildings and artefacts, as well as their context and place in the Italian landscape. Using Folkes’ diary, his account book of his journey in the Norwich archives, and accompanying correspondence with other natural philosophers such as Anders Celsius (1701-44) and Abbe Antonio Schinella Conti (1667-1749), I will also demonstrate in this paper to what extent this journey established his reputation as an international broker of Newtonianism as well as the overall primacy of English scientific instrumentation to Italian virtuosi.

Keywords:Martin Folkes, Optics, Sir Isaac Newton, Veneto, Anders Celsius, Grand Tour
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V380 History of Science
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V210 British History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
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ID Code:27632
Deposited On:12 Jun 2017 09:26

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