Lithographic caricature of Richard Anthony Proctor (1837-1888). Proctor was the most important and influential popularizer of astronomy of his time. Unlike the majority of today's popularizers, Proctor was capable of thoroughly understanding the cutting-edge fundamental research of his day, commenting on and influencing it, and himself making real contributions to that work. He used the opportunity of the 1874 and 1882 ToVs to make a name for himself in society at large by attacking Sir Geroge Biddell Airy's ToV plans, both in the specialist literatrure and in popular media. Like Airy, he too was judged a fit target for the good-natured humour of a Vanity Fair cartoon. Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

R.A. Proctor