image hooke_r_micrographia_268
Image number: RS.1885
Credit: © The Royal Society
Looking for a special gift? Buy a print of this image.

Drone fly




Unknown, Engraver


Robert Hooke (1635-1703, British), Natural Philosopher

Object type

Image reference

Library reference

RCN 45230




height (print): 305mm
width (print): 270mm


   > Optics
      > Microscopy
   > Entomology

Content object

   > animal
      > insect


Microscopic study of a grey drone fly, or hover fly, eristalis tenax, showing its head, compound eyes, antenna and mouth.

Inscribed above: ‘XXIV’

Written in the associated text: ‘this outward skin, like the Cornea of the eyes of the greater Animals, was both flexible and transparent, and seem’d through the Microscope, perfectly to resemble the very substance of the Cornea of a man’s eye; for having cut out the clutter, and remov’d the dark and mucuous stuff that is subjacent to it, I could see it transparent like a thin piece of skin’

Plate 24 from Robert Hooke’s Micrographia: or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses with observations and inquiries thereupon (1665), the first fully-illustrated book on the topic of microscopy. In the preface Hooke asserts that he had discovered ‘a new visible World’.

Robert Hooke (1635-1703) British natural philosopher was a founding member of the Royal Society, elected in 1663. Before his career with the Royal Society, Hooke had been apprenticed to painter Peter Lely (1618-1680), where he learned to draw and paint. Though he did not engrave the images in Micrographia himself they were engraved after his illustrations.

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > United Kingdom