London, South Kensington
24 September 2008
An English Culpeper-type microscope
Matthew Loft, circa 1740
unsigned, but of Loft's first form of Culpeper microscope with single piece tripod legs, diamond-shaped in cross-section with ornamental ridges; the eyepiece held in brass mount (later) with threaded lignum vitae ring, lignum vitae draw-tube covered with green vellum decorated with three pairs of gilt lines (cell for field lens lightly cracked), stained ivory objective screwing onto lignum vitae nosepiece, body-tube of pasteboard covered with black-polished shagreen (three longitudinal cracks), stage with circular aperture, tripod legs retaining some of their original gilding supporting the main body via a brass ring (one replacement screw), on a restored stepped octagonal base (four replacement screws, fitting for original mirror replaced handle to draw replaced) treated with creosote(?), accessories include four ivory slides, modern bullseye condenser, four (of five) original stained ivory objectives marked 1,2,4,5 to correspond to lines drawn onto the green vellum by a previous owner. In original pyramid case (missing key and brass handle).
17½in. (44.5cm.) high in case
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
Clay, R.S. & Court, T.H. The History of the Microscope (London, 1975), ch. VI
Turner, G.l'E. The Great Age of the Microscope (Bristol, 1989), p.36
Court is quick to attribute the unsigned microscopes of this type to Loft, but Turner (1989, p.36) is more cautious. An example of Loft's second-form Culpeper-type microscope is kept at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford (Inv. no. 54047), and retains a signed printed label pasted in the accessory drawer.
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Specialist James Hyslop surveys some of the stunning natural marvels, from fossils to fool’s gold, offered in our Sculpted by Nature sale
As the scientific community investigates the cigar-shaped asteroid that has been dubbed ’Oumuamua, Dr. Alan Rubin discusses the origins of extraterrestrial rocks
Specialist Joy McCall answers key questions for collectors of the glassmaker’s exquisite pieces. Illustrated with lots offered in the Lalique sale on 15 May
Offered in May, a 1916 canvas that was included in every major survey of Malevich’s Suprematist works during his lifetime, and which revolutionised modern art