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The astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi was a friend of Smyth's father, Admiral William Henry Smyth, and his own godfather. After schooling at Bedford Grammar School, Charles Piazzi Smyth went to South Africa in 1835 to assist Thomas Maclear at the Cape Observatory. There he used his artistic talent to draw Halley's comet (1836) and the great daylight comet (1843) and studied polarising effects in the latter.
oil on canvas
75 x 62 cm
bequeathed by the sitter, 1900
The Royal Society of Edinburgh
22–26 George Street, Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ ScotlandView venue
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