Microscope (detail)

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Postcard of Microscope (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Microscope (detail)

This is a detail of the barrel of an early compound microscope. The microscope dates from the late 17th century. It is unsigned but its lenses were possibly made by the London optician John Yarwell (1648-1712).

The detail shows the Royal coat-of-arms stamped with gold-impressed tooling on the barrel. The arms predate the accession of William and Mary in 1689.

The microscope may be identified with the 'Double Microscope' illustrated on John Yarwell's trade card of 1683. At least eight other instruments, all telescopes, are known with the Royal coat-of-arms on them: they may have been issued for government service.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-002-056-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1937.131
Date: Late 17th century
Material: Walnut body, brass stand, leather. Inscription: Royal coat of arms
Dimensions: 14.00" L (body); 4.00" D (barrel)
What: Microscope
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: Marshall (Eponym)
Description: Marshall's microscope, walnut body and brass stand, with the royal coat of arms embossed on leather, late 17th century
  • Illustrated and described in Turner, G. L'E. Collecting Microscopes. London, 1981 pp 49-50 
  • Nuttall, R. H., 'A Marshall Microscope in the Royal Museum of Scotland' in Microscopy 35 (1987), pp 499-509 
  • Turner, G. L'E., 'Decorative tooling on 17th and 18th century microscopes and telescopes' in Essays on the History of the Microscope, Oxford: 1980 
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