Erasmus Darwin's Microscope

Contributed by Derby Museums and Art Gallery

Erasmus Darwin's microsope used in the 18th Century for the study of and enquiry into plants and other intersting items.

The 18th Century was the age of enquiry but many people in Britain believed the world was formed in 4004BC.This microscope was used by Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) in his botanical studies. Darwin published a number of poems and scientific works about plants and the natural world culminating in the Temple of Nature published posthumously in 1803. This examines the role of evolution in the natural world 56 years before the publication of "The Origin of Species" by his grandson Charles.
Darwin was a member of the influential group the Lunar Society who asked questions relating to the sky above us, the earth beneath our feet, the world around us and who we are inside us.
Other members included Matthew Boulton, James Watt, John Whitehurst and Josiah Wedgwood.
The microscope was made by William and Samuel Jones, Holborn, London in the 1790s, specialist opticians and instrument makers. The brass microscope is mounted on a mahogany case with a drawer containing a spare mirror, lenses, tweezers, brass and ivory slides and mica cover slips.

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  • 1. At 15:34 on 7 January 2011, Victuallers wrote:

    ... and he was the founder of the Derby Philosophical Society ... whose library founded Central Library in Derby where the Art Gallery used to be.

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