image EL_L1_11_19
Image number: RS.15709
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Crystallisations of liquids


11 February 1675


Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 303mm
width (page): 204mm



In a letter from Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to Henry Oldenburg

A series of observations with regard to the crystallisation of salts and infusions, observed with a microscope:

- crystals of sal vitriolii
- a grain of sugar
- kinds of soap
- pepper
- onion
- aqua fortis
- bile of a bream
- bile of a calf
- mustard seed
- bile of a cod.


Ick heb de figueren die de souten vande planten hebben gemaect, na mijn vermogen nageteickent, (maer de volmaecktheden die in veel deeltgens wel vereijschte sij (!) mij niet doenlijck geweest te volgen) (Alle de brieven, vol. 1, p. 232)
Transcribed by the Making Visible project

Object history

Alle de brieven van Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, ed. by a committee of Dutch scientists, 17 vols [ongoing] (Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger, 1939- ), I, 230-75 (letter 16). According to the commentary, this letter is accompanied by two pages of figures of crystals drawn in ink by Leeuwenhoeck. The figure of the crystals of alum is not mentioned in the letter. A number of other drawings mentioned in this letter but not accompanying it were forwarded by Leeuwenhoeck to the Royal Society together with the ‘Missive’ of 26 March 1675.

There is an autograph copy of this letter in the British Library, London (Add. MS 22953, ff. 122-25). It is kept together with a drawing in red chalk of a dried section of an optic nerve, which belongs to the letter of 4 December 1674.

Related Fellows

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist
Henry Oldenburg (1612-1677, German), Scientific correspondent

Associated place

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