18th Century Telescope by Suttleworth, London SOLD

Over 5 feet when fully extended!


Contact Us About This Product


This very scarce telescope is about as long as they come for the 18th century.  The 4-draw brass telescope was made by Henry Raynes Suttleworth, a London optician who worked circa 1760 to 1797.  The mahogany tube is made from a carved out single piece of wood, measuring approximately 14 inches and a diameter of 2.5 inches. Once fully extended, this telescope measures 61.75 inches.

I found a reference to Henry Shuttleworth that had been listed on a billhead, at “The Sir Isaac Newton & Two Pairs of Golden Spectacles, the Old Mathematical Shop, near the West End of St. Paul’s, London.” That site on reference further stated, “that might explain why he did not engrave an address on his telescopes, but just put, “Shuttleworth, London.” Apparently, it is assumed he moved his business to Ludgate Street, London after 1774.  1.

1. (The Telescope Collector).

In 1788, Henry Scuttleworth the son apprenticed under the father, eventually taking over the business in 1797 upon his father’s death. The son worked into the early 19th century. There is also the strong possibility that the telescope could have been made by the son. So the question as to who made this telescope and when it was made are still questions to be asked.  I don’t have the immediate answer, and therefore have to make it known the possibility exists that this instrument could have been made by either or.

Shuttleworth’s  name is left hand engraved on the upper draw. The eye piece has a sliding lens dust cover. The telescope seems a bit unwieldy for and instrument made to be used on board a ship being tossed about on the waves.  It certainly must have required two men to handle; one to view and one to steady, perhaps on a shoulder or ratlines. Its weight is not significant, but instructively, once handled, one can understand how difficult it would be for one person to use this effectively without support.

The optics are excellent, and the overall condition is very fine for an items of this age. The brass might be cleaned, but now shows a light patina on the brass surfaces. The original brass lens cover is missing.

The telescope comes with its own original wooden tube case, fitting like a glove, with green wool lining the inside portion of the opening of the tube. The original shagreen covering remains; the cap was lost over time and has been replaced with a quality leather cover.

Telescopes of this size are rare, and in the period were very expensive costly instruments to own.


USPS Priority Mail   $28.00

Additional information

Weight 15 lbs