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Lot 1 (Fine Photographica & Instruments of Science, 19th November 2020)

Francis H. Wenham’s Original Prototype Binocular Microscope

English, dated from the Beck records as purchased on 2nd September 1853 by F. H. Wenham, signed to the foot ‘Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St. London 759, the microscope is recorded by the Beck records as the ‘Improved Large’, standing on three feet with a circular central disk supporting the twin tapered columns, at the top of the columns are trunnions supporting the limb with a friction lock, At the base is a triangular bar on which slides a collar supporting the large plano-concave mirror on a gimbaled arm, above this is a later fitted ( possibly by Wenham) mechanical substage collar with rack and pinion focusing and screw X-Y control, large square mechanical stage with X-Y control with screw lock to rear, limb with later fitted fine focus control, binocular arrangement adapted from a monocular tube with interocular adjustment via rackwork and slot above objective thread for prism drawer, in a fitted mahogany case with two fitted mahogany cases of accessories, eyepieces and objectives, the microscope 47cm high.

The original French polished mahogany microscope case is now fitted with an extensive collection of accessories and objectives, the being case made redundant by the size of the binocular tubes, the accessories include:

Large microscope case:
A pair of high power eyepieces.
A 1/4in objective to Wenham’s design.
A 1/4in objective to Wenham’s design
A 1/10in objective & can
A 1/25th in objective signed Wenham and dated 1st June 1856

Main Microscope Case:
A3in objective engraved ROSS LONDON & Can.
A 1in objective & can.
A 1in objective engraved Swift & Sons & can.
A 11/2in objective can.
A 2/3in objective engraved Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St & Can
A 1/2in objective & can.
A 4/10in objective & can engraved Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St.
A 1/4in objective & can.
A 1/4in objective engraved Swift & Son London & can.
A 1/4in objective scratched W.
A 1/5in objective & can engraved Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St.
A 1/6in objective engraved Swift & Son London & can.
A 1/8in objective engraved Swift & Son London & can.
A spot lens in a can engraved ‘Spot Lense’.
A condenser in a can engraved ‘Condenser’.
An Aplanatic Condenser N.A..95 engraved AL. E. CONRADY, LONDON & can.
Various polarisers & analysers.
A substage prism.
Various substage condensers
A dark well holder and 3 dark wells,
along with many other items.

Small case 1:
A 3in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 1 1/2in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 1in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 2/3in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 4/10 Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
Lieberkühn collars.
A side reflector on an arm.
A parabolic side reflector on an arm.

Small case 2
A pair of low power binocular eyepieces.
A pair of medium power eyepieces.
A monocular tube with erector lens.
an eyepiece lucida.

The Wenham Connection

Wenham, Francis Herbert (1824, Kensington – 1908) was a British marine engineer who studied the problem of human flight and later became involved in optics and the improvement of the microscope. He is credited with inventing the ‘Wenham binocular’ microscope, a binocular arrangement copied by almost all 19th century microscope makers. He joined Ross & Co. as an adviser following the death of Thomas Ross in 1870 where he designed his magnus opus - the Ross-Wenham Radial microscope, the largest binocular microscope of the Victorian era.

This instrument, as previously mentioned, was originally bought (according to the Beck records by F. H. Wenham) on 2nd September 1853. According to the letter that accompanies the microscope this is Wenham’s prototype binocular microscope which was first exhibited at a meeting of the Microscopical Society of London on the 12th of December 1860 (i). The handwritten letter written and signed by Wenham states: This is the original Wenham’s Binocular arrangement made by F. H. Wenham and fitted by him to his large Smith & Beck microscope, these parts being necessarily detachable having been the first ever adapted. Also a prism for including the full aperture of high power objectives. This letter is further accompanied with an extract from the “Intellectual Observer” (1866) titled ‘Mr. Wenham's New Binocular’ which appears to discuss in detail the high power prism that comes with this instrument. Wenham’s high-power prism was also the subject of a detailed report in the transactions of the Microscopical Society of London in 1866 (ii).

The accessory set has a 1/25inch objective in a can engraved Wenham and dated 1856. This very lens appears to have been the subject of praise in the 1857 Microscopical Society of London’s President’s address by the then president, George Shadbolt. It appears to be at the time the most powerful objective ever made.

Provenance:
1993 - Sold at Christie's South Kensington, Engineering and Scientific Works of Art, Instruments and Models, 6th May 1993, Lot 183 and formed part of the ‘Jacob Collection - an Important Swiss Collector’.

1939 – Private sale between Charles A Smith and Mr Alan Connelly in whose collection it remained until his death.

1911 - The microscope was sold by Dollond & Co in 1911 just three years after Wenham’s death in 1908. And bought by C. A. Smith

1853 – Bought from Messer’s Smith & Beck, 6 Coleman St. London by Francis H Wenham

i,Wenham, Francis H., 12th December 1860, On a new Combined Binocular and Single Microscope, London, Transactions of the Microscopical Society of London, 5 pages.

ii, Wenham, Francis H., 9th May 1866, On a Binocular microscope for High Powers, Transactions of the Microscopical Society of London,

Estimate
£20,000 - £30,000
 

Buyer's premium: 28.80%

Place Bid
£

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Viewing by appointment from 1st November 2020

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English, dated from the Beck records as purchased on 2nd September 1853 by F. H. Wenham, signed to the foot ‘Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St. London 759, the microscope is recorded by the Beck records as the ‘Improved Large’, standing on three feet with a circular central disk supporting the twin tapered columns, at the top of the columns are trunnions supporting the limb with a friction lock, At the base is a triangular bar on which slides a collar supporting the large plano-concave mirror on a gimbaled arm, above this is a later fitted ( possibly by Wenham) mechanical substage collar with rack and pinion focusing and screw X-Y control, large square mechanical stage with X-Y control with screw lock to rear, limb with later fitted fine focus control, binocular arrangement adapted from a monocular tube with interocular adjustment via rackwork and slot above objective thread for prism drawer, in a fitted mahogany case with two fitted mahogany cases of accessories, eyepieces and objectives, the microscope 47cm high.

The original French polished mahogany microscope case is now fitted with an extensive collection of accessories and objectives, the being case made redundant by the size of the binocular tubes, the accessories include:

Large microscope case:
A pair of high power eyepieces.
A 1/4in objective to Wenham’s design.
A 1/4in objective to Wenham’s design
A 1/10in objective & can
A 1/25th in objective signed Wenham and dated 1st June 1856

Main Microscope Case:
A3in objective engraved ROSS LONDON & Can.
A 1in objective & can.
A 1in objective engraved Swift & Sons & can.
A 11/2in objective can.
A 2/3in objective engraved Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St & Can
A 1/2in objective & can.
A 4/10in objective & can engraved Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St.
A 1/4in objective & can.
A 1/4in objective engraved Swift & Son London & can.
A 1/4in objective scratched W.
A 1/5in objective & can engraved Smith & Beck 6 Coleman St.
A 1/6in objective engraved Swift & Son London & can.
A 1/8in objective engraved Swift & Son London & can.
A spot lens in a can engraved ‘Spot Lense’.
A condenser in a can engraved ‘Condenser’.
An Aplanatic Condenser N.A..95 engraved AL. E. CONRADY, LONDON & can.
Various polarisers & analysers.
A substage prism.
Various substage condensers
A dark well holder and 3 dark wells,
along with many other items.

Small case 1:
A 3in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 1 1/2in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 1in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 2/3in Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
A 4/10 Lieberkühn with end cap and cover.
Lieberkühn collars.
A side reflector on an arm.
A parabolic side reflector on an arm.

Small case 2
A pair of low power binocular eyepieces.
A pair of medium power eyepieces.
A monocular tube with erector lens.
an eyepiece lucida.

The Wenham Connection

Wenham, Francis Herbert (1824, Kensington – 1908) was a British marine engineer who studied the problem of human flight and later became involved in optics and the improvement of the microscope. He is credited with inventing the ‘Wenham binocular’ microscope, a binocular arrangement copied by almost all 19th century microscope makers. He joined Ross & Co. as an adviser following the death of Thomas Ross in 1870 where he designed his magnus opus - the Ross-Wenham Radial microscope, the largest binocular microscope of the Victorian era.

This instrument, as previously mentioned, was originally bought (according to the Beck records by F. H. Wenham) on 2nd September 1853. According to the letter that accompanies the microscope this is Wenham’s prototype binocular microscope which was first exhibited at a meeting of the Microscopical Society of London on the 12th of December 1860 (i). The handwritten letter written and signed by Wenham states: This is the original Wenham’s Binocular arrangement made by F. H. Wenham and fitted by him to his large Smith & Beck microscope, these parts being necessarily detachable having been the first ever adapted. Also a prism for including the full aperture of high power objectives. This letter is further accompanied with an extract from the “Intellectual Observer” (1866) titled ‘Mr. Wenham's New Binocular’ which appears to discuss in detail the high power prism that comes with this instrument. Wenham’s high-power prism was also the subject of a detailed report in the transactions of the Microscopical Society of London in 1866 (ii).

The accessory set has a 1/25inch objective in a can engraved Wenham and dated 1856. This very lens appears to have been the subject of praise in the 1857 Microscopical Society of London’s President’s address by the then president, George Shadbolt. It appears to be at the time the most powerful objective ever made.

Provenance:
1993 - Sold at Christie's South Kensington, Engineering and Scientific Works of Art, Instruments and Models, 6th May 1993, Lot 183 and formed part of the ‘Jacob Collection - an Important Swiss Collector’.

1939 – Private sale between Charles A Smith and Mr Alan Connelly in whose collection it remained until his death.

1911 - The microscope was sold by Dollond & Co in 1911 just three years after Wenham’s death in 1908. And bought by C. A. Smith

1853 – Bought from Messer’s Smith & Beck, 6 Coleman St. London by Francis H Wenham

i,Wenham, Francis H., 12th December 1860, On a new Combined Binocular and Single Microscope, London, Transactions of the Microscopical Society of London, 5 pages.

ii, Wenham, Francis H., 9th May 1866, On a Binocular microscope for High Powers, Transactions of the Microscopical Society of London,

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Auction: Fine Photographica & Instruments of Science, 19th November 2020

Viewing Location:

8 Rivermead
Pipers Way
THATCHAM
RG19 4EP

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