Victorian Microscopy

Diatoms have been studied since the late eighteenth century, however the first real advances in the field came in the early nineteenth century when diatoms were popular with microscopists utilising the emerging improvements in microscope resolution. Several European workers produced hand illustrated monographs on diatoms in the late nineteenth century. Notable amongst these are the works of Cleve, Ehrenberg, Grunow, Schmidt and Van Heurck. However the most famous of these artist biologists is Ernst Haeckel who helped popularise Darwin's idea of Evolution and founded the Phyletic Museum in Germany where aDiatomea is exhibited. These illustrations are very detailed and are as exquisite as the real thing. Also the way these are layed out is also very interesting and beautiful and very reminiscent with the other Victorian practice of diatom art.