Early Photographs and Other Images of Microscopists with their Microscopes

by Brian Stevenson
last updated July, 2020

A collection of early photographs and other illustrations of microscope enthusiasts, most of whom are unknown amateurs. Some of the images are from my collection, most were collected from the internet. The latter are presented for nonprofit, educational puroposes, and original sources are cited where known.

Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), seated at Lacock Abbey next to Talbot's microscope. Calotype negative taken in July, 1842 by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), and inverted image. Adapted from http://foxtalbot.dmu.ac.uk/resources/brewster.html


Circa 1840 calotypes of Dr. John Reid (1809-1849), Professor of Anatomy and Medicine at St. Andrews University, Scotland, with an "Achromatique Universel" microscope by Charles Chevalier, of Paris. Adapted from https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/collection-search-results/calotype/717041 and https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/collection-search-results/calotype/717091.


Daguerreotype / ambrotype of a young man and his microscope, with hand-applied tinting.


Daguerreotype / ambrotype of an older man and his microscope.


Daguerreotype / ambrotype of man, his son, and their French drum-style microscope, with hand-applied tinting.


From the U.S.A., described as "R.F. Jameson, who was reported to be one month short of his twentieth birthday when he sat before an unknown daguerreotypist's camera in Montrose, Pennsylvania, in October 1846." Based on that information, he can be identified as Richard Fletcher Jameson, born on November 17, 1825 in Bridgeport, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, and died on October 13, 1902 in Smith County, Kansas. The 1850 US census listed Jameson as being a tailor in Montrose, Pennsylvania.


Ca. 1853 Salted paper print self-portrait of John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1810-1882).


Ca. 1853 Salted paper print of Thereza Llewelyn (1834-1926), daughter of John Dillwyn Llewelyn. Photographed by Llewelyn.


Ca. 1853 Salted paper prints of John Dillwyn Llewelyn's daughter, Thereza. Llewelyn formed borders using photograms of ferns.


Albumen print by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland and other stories), of his aunt, Lucy Lutwidge. Circa 1856. She is using Smith and Beck Educational ("Milk Box") microscope.


Ca. 1850s tintype photograph of Dr John Bishop Estlin, 1785-1855. Adapted from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180598829/john-bishop-estlin.


Carte-de-visite (CDV) of a gent with his subtantial bar-limb microscope and slide collection. The photographer, P.B. Pyne, operated at 40 Roxburgh Terrace, Haverstock Hill, London, from 1861 until 1863.


CDV of a lady with a microscope and botanical drawings. The date 1862 is written on the reverse, along with undecipherable handwriting. The photograph was made by Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901), of 15 Upper Parade, Leamington, Warwickshire. Robinson operated a photography studio there from 1855 until 1864. Leamington was a spa resort town, so the lady in the photograph may have been there on holiday.


Mr. Robert Pike and his microscope, CDV. Photographed by Norton and Iris, 14 Prospect Place, Kingsland Road, and 34 Upper Street, Islington, London.


Carte-de-visite of a man and his microscope. The partnership of photographers Maull and Polyblank, 55 Gracechurch Street, London, lasted from 1854 until 1865.


A boy and his drum-style microscope, carte-de-visite. Photographers Maull and Polyblank opened a second studio at 187a Piccadilly, in May, 1857. The partnership ended in 1865.


Carte-de-visite of an unknown man with a binocular microscope. Photographed ca. 1870 by W.D. Thomson, 45 Cheapside, London.


Christopher Johnson (1783 - 1866), British physician. Carte-de-visite taken in 1863.


Mr. A. Flint, Jr., with his microscope. Carte-de-visite photograph by J. Gurney and Son, 707 Broadway, New York, New York.


Mr. Hermann Wibbe and microscope, 1874. Carte-de-visite photograph by McDonald, Albany, New York, USA.


"Uncle" George Justice, and his microscope. Carte-de-visite (CDV). The photographer, Frederick Gutekunst (1831-1917), was located at 704-706 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, between 1856 and 1864.


Man with microscope. Carte-de-visite photograph by William H. Moore, Marion, Ohio, USA.


Man with a small drum-style microscope, stereoscope, and camera lens. Carte-de-visite, photographed by J. Bauer, address not identified.


A man with his microscope, by an unidentified photographer from Leeds. Carte-de-visite (CDV).


Presumably a geologist, with microscope. Carte-de-visite.


Rev. John Thomas Romney Robinson (1792-1882) and his microscope. Carte-de-visite (CDV). Photographed by James Simonton, 70 Grafton Street, Dublin. Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Romney_Robinson.

Gentleman with a microscope. Carte-de-visite. Photographer not known.


Paleontologist and anatomist Joseph Leidy (1823-1891) with a Powell and Lealand microscope. Photographer not known.


Man and a microscope, bulls-eye condenser, and slide collection. This carte-de-visite photograph is attributed to George Stacy, New York. Adapted from http://chubachus.blogspot.com/2017/01/.

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) with his microscope. Carte-de-visite.


Carte-de-visite (CDV) of Dr. Bejamin Miller and his impressive bar-limb microscope, ca. 1860. Adapted from https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/collection-search-results/carte-de-visite/20023307.


ca. 1860 CDV of a man and his microscope. The reverse of the photograph is blank, so the photographer not known.


CDV of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), physician, jurist, and inventor, posing with a demonstration microscope of his design.


1862 carte de visite of Robert James Farrants (1810 - 1870), seated next to the device for producing microscopical writing that was created by William Peters.


Detail of a cabinet card of an unidentified lady with a Smith, Beck, and Beck "Large Best" microscope. Photograph by G. and R. Lavis, 135 Regent Street, London.


Photograph of slide-maker Charles Morgan Topping, enlarged from a ca. 1860s microphotograph by William Moginie, generously provided by Trevor Gillingwater.


A gent with two microscopes, a microscope lamp, and bird specimens. Cabinet card. Photographed by B.A. Osborne, 18 Earl Street, Grimsby.


Two men and a microscope. Cabinet card, by an unknown photographer.


Cabinet card of a man with a Powell and Lealand microscope, camera, specimens, and other scientific items.


The Wakefield Microscopical Society, photographed on March 19, 1862, by G. and J. Hall, Wakefield. From a stereoview.


Stereoview daguerreotype of John Benjamin Dancer (1812-1887) with microscopes and other instruments he manufactured. Self-portrait, circa 1851. Adapted from https://www.gallery.ca/collection/artwork/self-portrait-with-scientific-apparatus


Another stereoview daguerreotype of J.B. Dancer with his microscopes and other instruments. Self-portrait, circa 1851. Adapted from The Victoria and Albert Museum, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O119158/scientist-in-his-laboratory-daguerreotype-dancer-john-benjamin/


Stereoview of a man with a binocular microscope, from the 1876 Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, USA.


Stereoview of a travelling exhibition of microscopes and telescopes on the Boston Common, Massachusetts, USA.


Stereoview of a man with his binocular microscope and slide collection.


Stereoview of a man with microscopes and other scientific apparatus. Produced circa 1890 by F.M. Yeager, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA.


French glass stereoview of a man and his microscope.


Glass stereoview of an R. and J. Beck "Popular" binocular microscope, circa 1872.


François-Vincent Raspail (1794-1878), French physician, chemist, and politician, posing next to a microscope of the form that he designed.



James Scott Bowerbank (1797-1877), F.R.S., F.R.M.S.



Andrew Pritchard (1804 - 1882), microscope inventor, manufacturer, and author.


Andrew Pritchard (1804 - 1882), microscope inventor, manufacturer, and author. Circa 1855 lithograph.


Rachel Littler Bodley (1831-1888), Professor and Dean of the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.


Charles Brooke (1804-1879), English surgeon and inventor, with a William Ladd microscope.


Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), author of "Evenings at the Microscope" and other popular scientific works.


Mordecai Cubitt Cooke (1825-1914). Microscopist, botanist, mycologist, author, editor of Hardwicke's Science-Gossip and Grevillea, and founder of the Quekett Microscopical Club and Club President from 1881 to 1883.


James Beaney (1828-1891), Australian surgeon and politician. Photographed with his microscope in 1860. Adapted from https://www.thermh.org.au/about/about-rmh/our-history/historical-figures-our-past-eccentric-surgeon-james-beaney.


Ephraim Cutter (1832-1917), demonstrating the use of a clinical microscope with direct light of a candle. It is the frontispiece of his "Partial Syllabic Lists of the Clinical Morphologies", second edition, 1892.


Botanist Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton (1858-1934), photographed in 1886.


ca. 1880 microscope by George Wale (1840 - ca. 1903), with a proud owner. Photograph probably early 1900s.


ca. 1890 photograph of the Microscopical Society of London, Ontario. Adapted from http://images.ourontario.ca/london/77387/data.


Children in a classroom, with a simple botanical microscope and a "household" compound microscope, ca. 1890.


James Sendall of Thorpe, Norwich, with his ca. 1877 J. Swift binocular microscope. Photographed in 1900.


Photograph of an unknown gentleman and a small European microscope, ca. 1880-1900.


William Spiers (1847-1930), from the cover of his 1909 book, "Nature Through the Microscope".


ca. 1903 photograph of F. Martin Duncan (1873-1961), one of the first producers of moving pictures of microscopic objects.


Photograph of pharmacist Albert E. Dimmock of Valdosta, Georgia, dated 1904.


1905 photograph of John Lancelot Todd (1876-1949), in The Congo. Todd is best known for his published descriptions of the cases of relapsing fever that he and Joseph Everett Dutton (1874-1905) suffered while studying in Africa. Dutton died shortly afterward, and the causative bacterium was named Borrelia duttoni in his honor.


Circa 1900 photograph of Charles Joseph Pound (1866-1946), bacteriologist and entomologist of the Animal Research Institute, Queensland, Australia. Pound identified Boophilus microplus ticks as the vectors of "redwater fever" during the 1890s, and directed ranchers on vaccination methods.


Three English women and a microscope. Early 1900s photograph, by an unknown photographer.


Edward Thomas Connold (1862 - 1910), an amateur microscopist and entomologist, of Sussex England.


Ca. 1900 classroom. Trimmed from a photographic postcard, with a U.S.A. stamp.


Ca. 1910 photograph of microscope slide-maker Herbert Gunnery, at work in his laboratory.


Custom-made postcard of a German man named Friedrich, with his microscope. Dated 1909.


Flora Wambaugh Patterson (1847-1928), American mycologist, and the first female plant pathologist hired by the United States Department of Agriculture.


A German gent with his microscope. Early 1900s photograph, by an unknown photographer.


Ronald Ross (1857-1932), who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on the transmission of malaria.


Nettie Maria Stevens (1861-1912), geneticist who discovered X and Y sex chromosomes.


Photograph of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934), the father of modern neuroscience. Pictured with a Carl Zeiss Stand Va.


Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934).


Self-portrait of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934).


A young Japanese microscopist.


George Washington Carver (ca.1860-1943), botanist and inventor.


ca. World War I photograph of a scientist with a Nachet Grand Modèle No. 3, at the Municipal Laboratory, Paris, France.


ca. 1910-20 photograph, man with his microscope.


Amédée Borrel (1867-1936), microbiologist.


Albert Calmette (1863-1933), microbiologist.


Amateur microscopist Harry Edward Hurrell (1856-1942) with his "field" microscope setup (a full-sized microscope mounted onto a surveyor's tripod), apparently on an excursion with the Great Yarmouth Naturalist's Society. (Courtesy of Peter Hodds).


Photograph of an unknown English gent. Note the electric lamp.


Ruth Colvin Starrett McGuire (1893-1950), American plant pathologist, with a Zeiss Stand 1B "Jug-Handle" microscope.


Mid-1900s biology class in Zschopau, Germany. Note that the microscope table is tapered - it is wider at the end next to the window. This allows the mirrors of all microscopes to use light from the window, without being in anyone's shadow.


Edward Bausch (1854 - 1941), son of John Jacob Bausch, and president of Bausch and Lomb from 1926 to 1935. Shown with a ca. 1930s Bausch and Lomb DDE microscope.


Henry Baker (1698-1774), with a Cuff microscope. Print of an engraving by Nutter, 1812, after J. Thomson. Adapted from https://wellcomecollection.org/works/kuvsqkq .


1748 engraving of Samuel Christian Hollmann (1696-1787), with a Culpeper-type microscope. Engraved by Johann Jacob Haid (1704-1767). Adapted from http://www.portraitindex.de/documents/obj/34013623 .


Portrait of a gentleman with a microscope, oil painting by a member of the Circle of Domenico Corvi (1721-1803).


Oil painting of Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), with a Delebarre-type microscope.


Lithograph of John Quekett (1815-1861).


Oil painting, "The Microscope", by Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889).


Oil painting of Sir Matthew John Tierney, (1776-1845) and a brass Culpeper-type microscope.


1769 oil painting with Cuff-style microscope by Johann Zoffany (1733-1810): "Episode in Samuel Foote's play The Devil Upon Two Sticks: the cobbler Dr. Last is examined for entry to the Royal College of Physicians by Dr. Hellebore, the president of the college".


Engraving of the Society of Apothecaries' April, 1855 Conversazione, from "The Illustrated London News".


Pen and ink drawing of Joseph D. Hooker (1817-1911) and his Ellis-type simple microscope, 1886, by Theodore Blake Wirgman (1848-1925).


Oil painting of an unidentified man and his microscope.


Oil painting of an unidentified lady and her microscope. Adapted from Adapted from http://www.antique-microscopes.com/portrait/A%20Victorian%20Lady%20and%20Her%20Microscope.htm .


Oil painting of William Henry Dallinger (1839-1909), F.R.S. and President of the Quekett Microscopical Club from 1889-1892. By Edgar Herbert Thomas (1862-1936).


"A Man Preparing Microscope Slides", oil painting by Rodolphe Christen (1859-1906).


"Portrait of Dr Simarro at the microscope", 1897, oil painting of Luis Simarro Lacabra (1851 - 1921), by Joaquín Sorolla (1863 - 1923).


Oil painting of Francis George Butcher (1874-1961), seated before a microscope. Dated 1910. By John Charles Allcot (1888-1973).


"The Naturalist", oil painting by George Henry Wimpenny (1857-1939).


"The Microscope", by Lexden L. Pocock (1850-1919).


"Table Top Still Life with Flowers, Microscope and Book", oil painting by Blanche Ames (Mrs. Oakes Ames) (1878-1969).


Hand drawn and painted picture of a microscopist with microscope and apparatus, added by an owner onto the fore edge of an 1884 copy of Philip Henry Gosse's Evenings at the Microscope.


Jules Bordet (1870-1961), discoverer of the bacterium that causes whooping cough/pertussis, named after him as Bordetella pertussis. Painted in 1921 by Jacques Madyol (1871-1950).


Oil painting by Heda Armour (b. 1916), "Portrait of a scientist at his microscope and inspecting slides".


"Under the Microscope", by Andrew Loomis (1892-1959).


"In the Laboratory" (ca. 1886), by Henry Alexander (1860-1894).


"Portrait of Doctor Boucard" (1929), by Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980).


A cartoon of William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), politican and frequent Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886-1886, and 1892-1894), which appeared in "Punch" on December 1, 1894. The caption reads: "Mr. Gladstone has become an honorary member of the Guildford Microscopic Natural History Society" and "Mr. G. I may find this eminently serviceable for examining the Liberal majority". On this subject, "The Sketch" published on November 28, 1894: "Really it is too bad that the president of an obscure and juvenile society, called the Guildford Microscope and Natural History Society, should trouble Mr. Gladstone with a request to become an honorary member. Lord Salisbury properly snubbed the president with the remark that he cannot connect himself with the society, as he has no chance of taking any part in its proceedings. But the ex-Premier was good enough to accede, and I tremble to think how many societies, equally microscopical in membership and intention, will add to Mr. Gladstone's postbag in consequence of his over-courteous reply".