image EL_L3_21_Fig
Image number: RS.15785
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Larvae and pupae of cheese flies


7 September 1700


Henry Hunt (d.1713, British), Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 303mm
width (page): 192mm



Four figures in a letter from Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to Hans Sloane.

The drawings are believed to be made by Henry Hunt, keeper of the Royal Society's library since 1696, according to the archive reference as well as the editors of the Van Leeuwenhoek letters.

Van Leeuwenhoek does not mention drawings in his letter (whereas he usually refers to them extensively), yet he mentions that he sent the original flies and pupae with his letter, folded in small pieces of paper. It is therefore believed that he did not send images with this letter, but that the images were made in London, potentially from the specimen he sent.

Fig. 1: pupa of cheese fly
Fig. 2: cheese fly
Fig. 3: pupa of cheese fly
Fig. 4: cheese fly.


The top of the page reads:
These are the produce of Maguts in Cheese
and from the teeth sent by Mr Lewenhocke
Transcribed by the Making Visible project

Object history

13 November 1700, 'A letter from Mr Anth: van Lewenhoek dated Delft Sept the 7th 1700 to Dr Sloane was read in which he gave a full account of the production of two maggotts, one of which was taken out of a tooth, the other out of cheese, which afterward turned to flyes together with the generation of these small Insects and the sketches of them, which were delivered to Mr Hunt' (JBO/10/200).

The letter was printed in Phil. Trans. vol. 22, no. 265 (1701), pp. 640-42, but without the images.
The Dutch and Latin editions of the letter also did not contain the images.

Related Fellows

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist

Associated place

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