|image copyright and by kindest permission of the artist|
1. But isn't that a rabbit?
2. Who's Marie-Jeanne-Amelie de Lalande?
3. What's an orrery?
The answers are
1. Yes, and that's the genius of Canterbury UK artist DD McInnes (whom we've seen before here at the Museum). If you're like me, you were attracted to the juxtaposition of solemn atmosphere with a thoughtful bunny, and then before you knew it you learned that
2. Marie-Jeanne-Amelie de Lalande was an 18th-century French astronomer and mathematician.
3. You also decided to look up "orrery" and discovered that it was a mechanical model of the solar system, like the modern one in this video. (You'll note the one above has eight planets. Neptune was discovered in 1846, Pluto in 1930 before its demotion to dwarf planet in 2006.)
While I was lost in admiration for this work, my memory scratched at me. I knew there was a work of the 1700's of which this reminded me, and I found it: Joseph Wright of Derby's work of around 1766, A Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery.
See what happened there? You looked at a brown bunny, and before you know it you were contemplating space, and it was mysterious fun. This is why I love McInnes, and here's more reasons why.