'The Secret Workings of Nature': Robert Hooke and Early Science

7 July - 9 January 2016

Hengwrt Gallery

An exhibition marking the 350th anniversary of the publication of the first scientific best-seller.  Micrographia by Robert Hooke, one of the leading figures of the Scientific Revolution, was the first book to introduce illustrations of the new world of wonders revealed by the invention of the early microscope.

There will be an opportunity to see his iconic drawings of the objects which he viewed through his microscope, as well as a selection of manuscripts and early books on astronomy, mathematics and natural history, by scientists such as Robert Recorde, Galileo and Edward Lhuyd, to show the beginnings of modern science. 

The Secret Working of Nature's Exhibition Events

Forthcoming lectures:

2 December : Professor Deri Tomos (Bangor University) : Opening life’s door. What exactly did Robert Hooke discover by identifying the cell? (Welsh with translation).

6 January : Sarah Hutton, Honorary Visiting Professor (University of York) : Stranger than fiction: Robert Hooke, Margaret Cavendish and satire on seventeenth-century science (English).

Exhibition items:

Francis Bacon, Novum Organum (Leiden, 1645)

Robert Hooke, Micrographia (London, 1665)

Compound Microscope, by John Marshall, English, c. 1700

Robert Boyle, A continuation of new experiments, physico-mechanical, touching the spring and weight of the air . . . (Oxford, 1669)

Notebook of Edward Lhuyd
Antiquities, &c., 1698 / Edward Lhuyd
Llanstephan MS 185

Francis Willughby and John Ray, De Historia Piscium (2nd ed., London, 1740)
NLW MS 24052E

Thomas Pennant, A History of Quadrupeds (London, 1781)

Robert Recorde, The Castle of Knowledge (London, 1556)
NLW MS 12415C

Galileo Galilei, Dialogo . . . sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (Florence, 1632)

Refracting Hand-Held Telescope, English, c. 1680
Loaned from: Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford  

A letter from the naturalist Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, to his friend John Lloyd, describing the activities of the astronomers William Herschel and his sister, Caroline, 1786.
Letters to John Lloyd of Wigfair, 1778-1814 / Sir Joseph Banks:
NLW MS 12415C

Euclid, The Elements of the Geometrie of the most auncient Philosopher Euclide…. (London, 1570)

René Descartes, Geometria a Renato Des Cartes, anno 1637 . . . (2nd ed., Amsterdam, 1659)

Isaac Newton, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (3rd ed., London, 1726)

William Jones, Synopsis palmariorum matheseos . . . (London, 1706)

The National Library of Wales Renovation Programme

The North Reading Room will be temporarily closed as a Reading Room from 22 May 2019, and its services will move to The South Reading Room. Find out more on our Building Works page.