In the fi rst years after its formation, the Royal Society was engaged in a complex process of shaping and presenting a public image of natural philosophy established upon Baconian foundations. Although inside the Royal Society there were different interpretations concerning the exact meaning of “Baconianism,”1 in the public statements there was a considerable agreement upon what the new philosophy of the virtuosi was supposed to be: a gathering of “uncorrupted eyes” and industrious hands (Sprat 1667: 72),2 a communal enterprise for gathering together natural histories, witnessing and classifying the results of experiments.3 Such was the experimental and Baconian make-up of the Society that some members insisted on placing a formal ban upon owning hypotheses or, worse, doctrines.4