The English landscape painter, Nathaniel Everett Green (1823-99), was that rare artist who was able to secure both fame and fortune within his own lifetime. In 1880 Green was summoned to Balmoral, Scotland, to offer his artistic tutelage to the British Royal Family, and especially to Queen Victoria. But he was also a prolific student of the planets, adapting his skills as a portrait painter to the vigorous study of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And while Green certainly had the means to erect a lavish observatory complete with a great, long refractor, on an equally impressive equatorial mounting (as was the fashion in those late Victorian times), he instead embraced the new technology of the day – first rate silver-on-glass reflectors – abandoning refractors altogether in the pursuit of greater resolving power.
Green was the first astronomer to announce the illusory nature of the Martian Canals and was a founding father of the British Astronomical Association (BAA), serving as its President from 1897 to 1898.
In the following account by Dr. Richard McKim, we learn of Green’s telescopic ‘evolution’ and the exquisite colour renderings of the planets he made with his splendid, open-tubed Newtonians.