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Campani-Style Italian Compound Microscope

This beautiful early eighteenth century Italian microscope may have been designed and built by Giuseppe Campani. The model illustrated below is featured in Gerard Turner's excellent book Collecting Microscopes, a volume in Christie's International Collectors Series of books on antiques.

Campani-style hand-held microscopes deviated from other microscopes of the period because they were usually supported by two wide legs rather than a typical tripod. This microscope conforms to that motif. The inner body tube and draw tube are fashioned from pasteboard and covered in green vellum. The outer body tube is also made of pasteboard, but is covered in shagreen, the name given to the skin from the aquatic sting-ray, with the scales ground flat and the surface polished and dyed. The eye lens mount is turned mahogany with a fitted lens cap. At the base of the body tube is the nosepiece, also made from turned mahogany. The stage has a spring to adjust the distance of the specimen from the objective.


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