Private Collection (Paris, France) [sold, Bel Ameublement, Sotheby's, Monaco, February 23, 1986, lot 901.]
Kila R. Kugel, French, born Russia, 1908 - 2005 (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.
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Compound Microscope and Case
Micrometric stage invented by Michel-Ferdinand d'Albert d'Ailly, 6th duke of Chaulnes (French, 1714 - 1769)
Gilt-bronze mounts attributed to Jacques Caffieri (French, 1678 - 1755, master 1714)
Paris, France (Place Created)
Gilt bronze, enamel, shagreen and glass; wood, tooled leather, brass, velvet, silver galon and various natural specimens
This microscope was made for an aristocratic amateur scientist, who would have used it in his cabinet de curiosité to explore the mysteries of the natural world. These cabinets were single rooms, or even an elaborate series of rooms, containing a variety of natural specimens including shells, fossils, minerals, bottles of preserved animals, and a variety of stuffed exotic animals including armadillos and crocodiles.
The Getty Museum's microscope still works, and the case is fitted with a drawer filled with the necessary attachments such as tweezers, extra lenses, and slides of such items as geranium petals, hair, fly wings, and fleas. Some of the slides are from the 1800s, indicating that the instrument was in continual use for over a century.
With attachments such as an ocular micrometer, the microscope incorporates the latest scientific technology of the mid-1700s. The design of its curving gilt bronze stand was the height of the
"Acquisitions/1986." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 15 (1987), p. 212, no. 102.
Perfettini, Jean. Le Galuchat: un matériau mystérieux, une technique oubliée (Dourdan: Éditions H. Vial, 1988), pp. 62-63, ill.
Ronfort, Jean-Nérée. "Science and Luxury: Two Acquisitions by the J. Paul Getty Museum." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 17 (1989), pp. 66-82, fig. 18-19, 21, 23, 25a-b, 28-29.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 175.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 209, ill.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 209, ill.
Stafford, Barbara Maria, and Frances Terpak, eds. Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2001), pp. 208-209, 372, fig. 51, no. 92.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 224, ill.
Bremer-David, Charissa, ed. Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), p. 120, no. 25.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 285, ill.