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Armillary Sphere Donated to ‘Federal City’ by Author; Ancient Astronomical Device Links Early Chinese to Modern Americans – The Washington Post, November 10, 1936
|| 2/7/2010 || 1:37 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

No one knows where the Noyes Armillary Sphere is today. Over the last few years I have personally called the Smithsonian & the National Park Service inquiring about the sculpture’s existence, but all have said it is lost. I genuinely find that difficult to believe because its not a small sculpture, but a rather large one. Some day in the future I would like to see this sculpture replaced and over time I hope to post more photographs and articles about this lost sculpture of Washington, DC.

According to the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System:

The sculpture originally consisted of two equal rings representing the Meridian and Equator, intersecting to form a sphere. Each intersecting ring was divided into areas representing the equinoxes and the Arctic and Antarctic regions. A wide bronze ring was adorned with the signs of the zodiac…. The base of sphere designed by Horace Peaslee, the architect of Meridian Park. The sphere was accepted by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in 1929, and was purchased with funds donated by Bertha Noyes, founder of the Washington Arts Club, in memory of her sister Edith. The sphere was vandalized during the 1960s and was removed from the park for repair. During this time, the sphere disappeared, with only the small winged figure of a child remaining.


National Park Service Photograph of the Noyes Armillary Sphere in Meridian Hill Park in the District of Columbia taken in the 1930's

National Park Service Photograph Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Armillary Sphere Donated to ‘Federal City’ by Author; Ancient Astronomical Device Links Early Chinese to Modern Americans.


The bronze sphere, 16 feet in circumference, bears the words: “Given to the Federal City, MCMXXXVI, for Edith Noyes.” It is the gift of Bertha Noyes, noted Washington artist, in memory of her sister.

Although the origin of the armillary sphere as an astronomical instrument is shrouded in mystery, its invention is usually credited to China, where it was first in use in approximately 200 B. C.

The Noyes memorial was designed by C. Paul Jennewein, New York sculptor, whose other works in Washington include the statue of a nude with fawn in Judiciary Square which was erected in memory of Joseph James Darlington, a District Supreme Court justice. Its placement in 1922 stirred a heated controversy.

Mounted on a granite pedestal three feet in height, the sphere has the signs of the Zodiac in relief on the outside of the great circle, within which are cleverly contrived the hours of the day marked in Roman numerals. In the center is a winged figure of a child greeting the sun.

At the base is a tablet, also of bronze, which corrects minor variations of the dial at different times of the year. Adjustments were made by a Columbia University astronomer in order that the instrument might be scientifically exact.


This newspaper article was obtained from the Washington Post historical newspaper archives. This article is not in the public domain but is being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to advocate for a replacement armillary sphere in Meridian Hill Park.


Related Armillary Sphere Entries:



My Urban Forest Project Submission: “Representation, Reforestation”
|| 1/15/2010 || 11:15 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Urban Tree Project: Washington, DC
From the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts & Humanities website:


This spring, The Urban Forest Project will plant 100 street banners by local designers and students in downtown Washington, DC. Each banner will use the form of, or metaphor for a tree, to make a powerful visual statement about the environment. Together they’ll create a forest of thoughtful images in the heart of the nation’s capitol. This project is being brought to Washington, DC as a platform to engage the public in the City’s environmental efforts.

A model of sustainability: The banners will be hung on city light poles in downtown Washington, DC during the spring of 2010 in celebration of Arbor and Earth Days. They will then be recycled into unique one-of-a-kind totebags designed exclusively for the project. Proceeds from the sales of the totebags will go to non-profit environmental efforts that help make Washington, DC a clean, green and sustainable city.

The brief is simple: Begin with the form, idea or a characteristic of a tree and use it to interpret and explore an issue around the environment that you feel is pressing, or an idea you find entertaining or intriguing. The only constraint is that the banner should not advertise a brand or product, nor endorse a particular political party. That’s it.

A short history: The Urban Forest Project was first executed in New York City’s Times Square in the fall of 2006. To learn more visit The Urban Forest Project website: http://www.ufp-global.com

Brought to you by: This project, conceived by Worldstudio, is being presented in Washington, DC in collaboration with: the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, AIGA DC and Corcoran College of Art and Design.


:: rendered at 10,000 x 6,000 pixels ::
My Urban Tree Project Submission: Representation, Reforestation

Programs Used: Bryce 5.5 to render the tree and Photoshop 7.0 for the layout
Font Used: Monaco


My Urban Forest Project Statement:
Citizens are like trees. The longer we live in a location the deeper our roots within the community grow. Unless, of course, you happen live in the District of Columbia. Here roots of civic pride are prevented from growing deep into the soil of democracy through the denial of representation in Congress. The lone tree at the center of this design is the State Tree of the District of Columbia, the Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea Inaequalis. Extending behind this solitary tree of liberty is a reminder that Reforestation, the act of replanting, or repopulating a terrain, is needed for Representation in this urban environment. 535 species is far too few species for the health & sustainability of America’s magnificent forests.


I had a Lorax submit my design last week and hopefully I’ll find out in the next few months if my tree was selected for this project.



Cathedral Quilt – Signed
|| 6/29/2006 || 1:32 am || Comments Off on Cathedral Quilt – Signed || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Cathedral Quilt - Signed by Nikolas Schiller

File this map under cartographic calligraphy. This is probably my favorite map yet.

While working at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, I had a colleague write my name in Arabic, I recently scanned her text and created a tile that has two attached signatures. The result is a reflection of my signature that can be read in different directions.

I chose to use this map for the DCCAH’s Young Emerging Artist Grant and printed 3 copies. One was framed and currently hangs in my house and another one was donated to the Library of Congress’ Geography & Mapping Division.

View the Google Map of the Washington National Cathedral



#UPDATE#
This map was submitted to the 2007 Web Biennel as an Interactive Map.

: detail :

View the rest of the details:

+ MORE



I won a Young Artists Program Award!
|| 1/29/2006 || 1:17 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

In October I submitted a proposal to the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities for $2470 to print out & frame 8 maps that represent one location in the 8 Wards of DC. Today I received the official word from the DCCAH that my proposal was accepted!!

Here is the link to the grantee listing [pdf]

more info here:
http://dcarts.dc.gov

Read about my way home from the DCCAH office after dropping of the proposal back in October 2005





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!