Observations on plant seeds, skin, salt particles etc

    Date
    12 October 1685
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Manuscript page number
    p47a
    Material
    Dimensions
    height (page): 278mm
    width (page): 223mm
    Subject
    Biology
       > Botany
    Content object
    nature
       > plant
    Description
    18 figures. Engraving from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 17, no. 205 (1693), to accompany a copy of a letter from Antoni van Leeuwenhoek entered into the Letter Book. The original letter (without the original drawings) can be found in Early Letter L1/77. The original letter was from 1685. Leeuwenhoek published the letter with images in both Dutch (1685) and Latin (1687) before the letter was published in the Philosophical Transactions (1693).

    Leeuwenhoek had the images drawn for him by an unknown artist.

    Fig. 1: the seed of cotton
    Fig. 2: a magnified version of the seed
    Fig. 3: the seed opened
    Fig. 4: structure of the embryo of a cotton plant (in the seed)
    Fig. 5: seed of a date
    Fig. 6: the bottom of the date seed with the small opening from where the embryo should grow
    Fig. 7: the same seed grown so much that the root was now half a finger long
    Fig. 8: another date seed, seen from the side, with a root grown to the length of DE
    Fig. 9: is the small plant of a clove, EFG are the leaves folded together
    Fig. 10: a cross section of the clove plant, of the part which would have become the stem
    Fig. B: shows how the leaves of the clove plant started to separate a little, with Leeuwenhoek's failed attempts to make it grow
    FIg. 11: one of the many seeds coming from one gooseberry
    Fig. 12: one seed from one black currant
    Fig. 13: the scales on the skin of a bream
    Fig. 14: the microscopic observation of the slime on the skin of a perch
    Fig. 15A: sharply shaped salt crystals in vinegar
    Fig. 15B: irregularly shaped salt crystals in vinegar
    Figs 16A&B: salt crystals in lemon juice, looking very similar to those in vinegar
    Fig. 16C: common salt
    Fig. 17: after combining sal volatile oleosum and wine-vinegar together, he observed this construction of three tubules and air bubbles.
    Object history
    The images were printed in:

    Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Ontledingen en ontdekkingen van het begin der planten enz. (Leiden: C. Boutesteijn, 1685), pp. 33-78.

    Antonius a Leeuwenhoek, Anatomia seu interiora rerum (Leiden: C. Boutesteijn, 1687), pp. 82-118 (2nd numbering).

    A. Leeuwenhoek, ‘Observations on the seeds of cotton, palm, or Date-stones, cloves, nutmegs, goose-berries, currants, tulips, cassia, lime tree; on the skin of the hand, and pores of sweat, the crystalline humour, optic nerves, gall, scales of fish, and salt particles’, Phil. Trans. vol. 17, no. 205 (November 1693), pp. 949-60, figs 1-18.
    Related fellows
    Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632 - 1723, Dutch) , Naturalist
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > Netherlands
    Credit
    ©The Royal Society
    Image number
    RS.14649
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