Skip to main content

Spy glass: PER.M.374-1923

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Dolland




Telescopic spy glass in gilt bronze and tortoise shell inlaid with gold and mother-of-pearl

Two glass lenses set in gilt bronze with chased borders and tortoise shell inlaid with gold piqué point, piqué posé and mother-of-pearl. Cylindrical, telescopic action of seven tiers; the largest (which forms the case) set with a broad tortoiseshell band decorated with swags, scrolls and flowerheads. The top of the eyepiece is engraved 'DOLLAND, LONDON'.


History note: Not known before testator

Legal notes

Spencer George Perceval Bequest

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 4.9 cm
Height: 10.8 cm
Height: 4.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1922-03-07) by Perceval, Spencer George


18th Century, Late-19th Century, Early#
George III
1790 - 1820


John Dolland (1706-1761) and his son, Peter (1730-1820) were the foremost optical instrument makers in the mid 18th century. John was granted fellowship of the Royal Society in 1761, with Peter becaming optician to His Majesty, George III in 1763. When in 1806 Peter's nephew George Huggins (1774-1852) joined the business he changed his surname to Dolland. He, too, was elected to a fellowship of the Royal Society in 1819 and was active in founding the Astronomical Society in 1820.

School or Style


Components of the work

Case composed of tortoise shell
Decoration composed of mother-of-pearl gold
Surface composed of gold
Tiers composed of copper alloy

Inscription or legends present

  • Location: Round the top of the eyepiece
  • Method of creation: Engraved
  • Type: Maker's inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: PER.M.374-1923
Primary reference Number: 150662
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 30 June 2016 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Spy glass" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-25 16:52:56

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Spy glass |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-25 16:52:56|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...