Microscopic observations of sand

    4 December 1703
    Unknown, Artist
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Manuscript page number
    height (page): 202mm
    width (page): 157mm
    Content object
       > mineral
    13 images in a letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society. Leeuwenhoek had the drawings made by a draftsman. Leeuwenhoek had three artists ('konstschilders') visiting his workshop while he was observing these grains of sand, and it is not unlikely that one of them drew the images on this sheet of paper.

    Fig. 1: a hexagonal grain of sand
    Fig. 2: a slightly bigger and flatter grain of sand with a ruined temple with some pillars
    Fig. 3: a hexagonal grain of sand, with two sharp pyramidal points
    Fig. 4: a triangular grain of sand
    Fig. 5: a hexagonal grain of sand with small pits
    Fig. 6: another hexagonal grain seen from the side
    Fig. 7: a hexagonal grain with reflective surface
    Fig. 8: a grain of sand, 'in which the bosses with their sides are designated', but according to Leeuwenhoek, it was impossible to depict its regularity and beauty.
    Fig. 9: the same grain, from another side
    Fig. 10: another gleaming little grain of sand
    Fig. 11: grain of sand with three of the four oblique sides visible
    Fig. 12: the full length of the grain in fig. 11
    Fig. 13: a grain of sand with four sides.
    Object history
    The Journal Book mentions on 26 January 1703/4, 'A Letter was read from Mr Leeuwenhoeck concerning the Figures of Sand; he was Thanked, and the Transactions he wants, order'd to be sent him' (JBO/11/40).

    Printed as:
    A. Leeuwenhoek, ‘Concerning figures of sands’, Phil. Trans. vol. 24, no. 289 (January and February 1704), pp. 1537-55. Tab. 1, figs 1-13.
    Related fellows
    Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632 - 1723, Dutch) , Naturalist
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > Netherlands
    ©The Royal Society
    Image number
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