These are not photographs of the Moon! No Earth-bound telescopes could discern such detail in the 19th century.
Nasmyth was a Scottish engineer known for his invention of the steam hammer. He combined avid interests in astronomy and photography. Carpenter was an astronomer at the Greenwich Observatory. Together they constructed plaster models of the lunar surface. They photographed these plaster models using raking light (where light rays come from oblique angles). With raking light, they were able to simulate the shadow effects one might perceive on the surface of the Moon through the telescope.
In 1610, Galileo discovered mountains on the Moon with the benefit not only of the telescope’s optics but also of the ability to interpret what he perceived in light of an artistic tradition of chiaroscuro, the handling of light and shadow. With the perspective exercises of Pacioli, Leonardo or Sirigatti, students learned to draw the shadows cast by the protruding surfaces of complex geometrical figures. On the Moon, the shadows Galileo observed revealed topographical relief. The photographic laboratory of Nasmyth and Carpenter returns us full circle by recreating these light and shadow effects in detail. In controlled conditions, Nasmyth and Carpenter recreated the same effects which Galileo had originally taught us to understand. With this British achievement in simulated astrophotography, we see that a productive combination of art and astronomy did not end with Galileo.
This work first appeared in English. Both Nasmyth and Carpenter are now recognized with craters on the Moon.