Record

Authorised form of nameTennant; James Francis (1829 - 1915); army officer and astronomer
Dates1829 - 1915
NationalityBritish
Place of birthCalcutta, West Bengal, India, Asia
Date of birth10 January 1829
Place of death11 Clifton Gardens, Maida Hill, London
Date of death06/03/1915
Occupationarmy officer astronomer
Research fieldSpectroscopy
Solar physics
Astronomy
Mathematics
ActivityEducation: Private schools and East India Company's Military Seminary at Addiscombe (1845-1847).
Career:
Joined the trigonometrical survey team of the Bengal Engineers, tasked with triangulating the western section of the great longitudinal series from the Sironj base to Karachi (1849); became prominent in the fields of eclipse and transit studies (1855); temporary director of the Madras Observatory from October (1859-1860); entered the service of the East India Company; started as second lieutenant and later promoted to captain and then major (1858); whilst on leave in England, in consultation with other scientist such as William Huggins (FRS 1865), George Gabriel Stokes (FRS 1851), and Warren De La Rue (FRS 1850), he organized an observing programme (1867); promoted to lieutenant-colonel (1869); colonel (1875); major-general (1883); and lieutenant-general (1884); served in Bengal during the Indian Mutiny; Master of the Calcutta Mint (1875-1885); retired on a pension (1882); served as a British delegate to the 1887 Paris Astrographic Conference; as a member of the council of the Royal Astronomical Society (1885), and as its president (1890–1); died of bronchial catarrh and cardiac failure (1915).
Honours:
CIE 1879
Memberships:
FRAS; FGS; Royal Photographic Society
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election03/06/1869
Age at election40
ProposerJohn Couch Adams; Arthur Cayley; Jon Cape; Warren De La Rue; Balfour Stewart; Edward William Brayley; Charles Pritchard
Henry James; David Thomas Ansted; Andrew Scott Waugh; Isaac Todhunter; George Biddell Airy; Alexander Ross Clarke; Charles Piazzi Smyth; James Challis
RelationshipsParents: Sir James Tennant (1789–1854), Brigadier-General of the Bengal Artillery, and Elizabeth Louisa (1803–1882), daughter of Charles Pattenson, of the Bengal civil service.
Spouse: 1) Augusta, daughter of William Fleming Dick, of the Bengal civil service, and his wife, Emily Anne, née Shakespear (1852); 2) Selina Tudor Crawford, daughter of James Henry Crawford, of the Bengal civil service, and Charlotte Mary Anne, née Shakespear.
Children: 1st marriage) James Blair; William Francis; Robert Hamilton; Mary Augusta. 2nd marriage) three daughters.
Published worksRCN R65836
RCN R65837
RCN R65838
General contextPioneer in solar physics, through his observations of the total eclipses of 1868 and 1871 and the transit of Venus of 1874; of spectroscopy; and of astronomical photography.
Considered an early authority on the black drop effect
Tennant gained recognition as an observer for the Royal Astronomical Society during significant astronomical events. He contributed observations for the solar eclipse of 17 August 1868 over the Indian peninsula, the eclipse of 11 December 1871 in southern India, and the transit of Venus in 1874. Notably, these observations marked the extensive use of photographic equipment for the first time. Tennant, with his expertise in photography, played a crucial role in enhancing the accuracy of eclipse observations, particularly in capturing details of the solar corona.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB
Obituaries:
Proc Roy Soc Series A 1915-1916 vol 92 pp x-xiv signed by H H T
Virtual International Authority Filehttp://viaf.org/viaf/34849192
Royal Society codeNA6352
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
NLB/2/18Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to General James Francis Tennant, Fellow of the Royal Society, 27 Hamilton Road, Ealing, W.7 December 1887
NLB/3/482Copy letter from an unknown correspondent, to Harrison & Sons21 June 1889
NLB/6/302Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to General James Francis Tennant, Fellow of the Royal Society8 April 1892
NLB/5/597Copy letter from Theodore E James, to Messrs Harrison & Sons20 July 1891
NLB/14/59Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to the Secretaries of the Joint Permanent Eclipse Committee, Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, W.18 December 1896
NLB/14/547Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to General James Francis Tennant, Fellow of the Royal Society26 March 1897
NLB/44/289Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison to Lieutenant General J [James] F [Francis] Tennant FRS8 June 1911
NLB/45/653Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison to Lt-Gen J [James] F [Francis] Tennant, RE, FRS, 11 Clifton Gardens, Maida Hill, W20 April 1912
NLB/47/450Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison to J [James] F [Francis] Tennant FRS1 February 1913
NLB/47/367 Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison to Lt. Gen. J [James] F [Francis] Tennant, CIE, FRS23 January 1913
NLB/47/461Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison to Lt. General J [James] F [Francis] Tennant FRS3 February 1913
EC/1869/16Tennant, James Francis: certificate of election to the Royal Society
NLB/3/916List of corrections in the addresses of Royal Society Fellows8 November 1889
NLB/12/393Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Andrew Ainslie Common, Fellow of the Royal Society, Secretary, Joint Permanent Eclipse Committee, Royal Astronomical Society13 February 1896
MC/8/393Letter from Lieutenant Colonel J F [James Francis] Tennant, Woolton, to the Secretary of the Royal Society10 July 1869
MC/9/311Copy letter from J F [James Francis] Tennant, Honorary Secretary of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Asiatic Society's Rooms, Calcutta, to the Secretary of the Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Revenue & Commerce25 January 1872
MC/9/315Letter from J F [James Francis] Tennant, Calcutta, to Dr [William] Sharpey, Secretary of the Royal Society26 January 1872
MC/10/256Letter from J F [John Francis] Tennant, Royal Engineers, Roorkee Observatory, to Professor [John] Tyndall, President of the British Association13 May 1875
MC/10/7Letter from J F [John Francis] Tennant, Lieutenant-Colonel Royal Engineers, Roorkee, North West Provinces, to W [Walter] White, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society4 August 1873
MC/9Volume 9 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1870-June 1873
MC/10/8Letter from J F [John Francis] Tennant, Lieutenant-Colonel Royal Engineers, Roorkee, North West Provinces, to [Thomas Henry Huxley and George Gabriel Stokes], Secretaries of the Royal Society23 September 1873
MC/10Volume 10 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal SocietyJuly 1873-1876
MC/11/263Letter from J F [James Francis] Tennant, Colonel Royal Engineers, HM Mint, Calcutta, to [Thomas Henry Huxley and George Gabriel Stokes], Secretaries of the Royal Society1 November 1878
MS/257/5/5Letter from James Francis Tennant, 22 Henrietta Street to Edward Sabine 1 March 1867
MS/257/5/7Letter from James Francis Tennant, Ilfracombe to Edward Sabine 25 May 1867
MC/11Volume 11 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1877-1879
MC/8Volume 8 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1867-1869
MS/257/5/9Letter from James Francis Tennant, Calcutta to Edward Sabine27 October 1868
MS/257/5/8Letter from James Francis Tennant, London to [Edward Sabine]28 June 1867
MS/257/5/6Letter from James Francis Tennant, 22 Henrietta Street to Edward Sabine 16 March 1867
MC/14/12Letter from [James Francis] Tennant, 37 Hamilton Road, Ealing, to the Secretary of the Royal Society29 January 1885
NLB/38/497Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to General [James Francis] Tennant, Fellow of the Royal Society, 11 Clifton Gardens, Maida Hill, N.14 August 1908
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