Hooke’s Micrographia makes multiple appearances

December 29th, 2012

The copy in Special Collections of Robert Hooke’s influential Micrographia: Or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses [that is, microscopes] (1665) has made multiple appearances of late.

microscope, from Hooke's Micrographia (1665)

This copy is part of the Daniel and Eleanor Albert Collection on optics and ophthalmology.

title page, from Hooke's Micrographia (1665)

A view through the microscope in Micrographia of a cross-section of cork figures, for example, in the case on cells in our new exhibit “Parts and wholes,” alongside a volume of Ledermüller’s Amusement microscopique of a century later. Look for more on that exhibit in a subsequent post.

Illustrations from the Albert copy appear as well in Meghan Doherty’s prize-winning study, “Discovering the “true form:” Hooke’s Micrographia and the visual vocabulary of engraved portraits,” in Notes and records of the Royal Society, 66:3 (September 2012), 211-234. Shown here: the fly eye, as viewed through Hooke’s microscope,

p. 182 and eye of a fly, from Hooke's Micrographia (1665)

and the “stinging points of Nettles.”

Schem. XV, from Hooke's Micrographia (1665)

We add our congratulations to Doherty on her Notes and records prize. She also served as guest exhibit curator for “Under the Medicean stars: Medici patronage of science and natural history, 1537-1737” in Special Collections in 2007.

Special Collections is also fortunate to hold, as part of the Thordarson Collection, a copy of the Micrographia with a title page that reads “Printed for John Martyn…” with a publication date of 1667.

title page, from Hooke's Micrographia (title page dated 1667), as digitized by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center

This is probably the same edition as the Allestry printing but for the new title page. The page facing the title page in the Thordarson copy reads “Ordered, That the Book … Be Printed by John Martyn, and James Allestry, Printers to the said [Royal] Society. Novem. 23. 1664.”

imprimatur, from Hooke's Micrographia (title page dated 1667), as digitized by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center

The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center has produced a digital version of the Thordarson copy.