Louse clinging to a human hair, 1736.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by I Carwitham after a micrograph illustration from Robert Hooke's 'Micrographia', published in 1664. Carwitham's engraving is from 'A natural history of spiders, and other curious insects' by Eleazar Albin (active 1713-1759), with copper plate illustrations, (London, 1736). Hooke's (1635-1703) 'Micrographia', which was widely plagiarised, was the first important work on microscopy, and contains illustrations of some of the specimens Hooke viewed under the compound microscope that he designed, as well as the microscope itself. The louse, which Hooke comments is 'officious', is shown clutching a human hair.