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FAIRY BEETLE (Trichopteryx atomaria, male)

c. 1890


Serial Number: None


Fred Enock's Fairy Beetle Slide

Fred Enock's Fairy Beetle Slide DESCRIPTION:

This is an example of one of Fred Enock's works illustrating his amazing skill at mounting small insects. It shows the 'Fairy Beetle' from a lateral view with its wing 'hairs' spread perfectly. As seen in the dark field view seen here, it is a spectacular subject under the microscope. It is very small however, being one of the smallest beetles, barely visible to the naked eye. According to the Riverside Natural History Volume 2 of 1888, an excerpt of which is seen here, it is a member of the Trichopterygidae, the smallest known beetles. The Fairy Beetle slide is much less common than his Fairy Fly Slides. Fairy Beetle Engraving


Frederic Enock, the nephew of the famous Edmund Wheeler, worked for his uncle for about eight years until about 1878 when he went into business on his own. He was likely the greatest insect mounter of all time. His slides often show tiny insects in a spectacular fashion, often perfectly layed out as in the example shown here. He is famous for preparing insects without pressure, and his deep mounts often feature insects with their three dimensional structure preserved. He is even more famous for his study of, and mounting of Fairy Flies, the Mymaridae. Several examples of Fairy Flies by Enock are in this collection. Enock slides, nearly all over one hundred years old now, are usually still in a great state of preservation. Enock's methods of preparing his specimens are unknown, as he kept them secret and all of his papers were destroyed at the time of his death. Few, if any, people at that or any other time, are capable of such perfection in the mounting of insects. For this reason, his mounts remain highly sought after and collectible. His slides were often labelled with a distinctive style of handwriting, making it possible to identify some slides of his without his own label. Occasional slides with Enock's labels have a different handwriting, (as seen in some of my examples of Fairy Flies) and I have no explanation for that at the time of this writing. Enock also produced photographs and drawings, the surviving examples are of good quality and sometimes appear at auctions. It is difficult to date his slides, as he mounted from before 1880 until he died in 1916, unless they carry his (uncommon) additional little address labels. According to Bracegirdle, his membership in the Natural History society, and their addresses for him, as well as his advertisements in Science Gossip, allow dating by the address on these labels, when present; these are summarized here below.

2 Mount Pleasant Rd, Upper Holloway, London N1873
25 Balsall Heath Rd, Birmingham1874
30 Russell Rd, Seven Sisters Rd, London N1880-1882
Ferndale, Woking Station1882-1883
21 Prospero Rd, Upper Holloway, London1885
11 Parolles Rd, Upper Holloway1889
21 Manor Gardens, Holloway1895-1898
13 Tufnell Park Rd, Holloway1911-1915
54 St Mary's Terrace, West Hill, Hastings1916