image EL_L3_60_013
Image number: RS.15799
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Microscopic observations of sand


1 February 1704


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 226mm
width (page): 177mm


Content object

   > mineral


Nine drawings in a letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society.

Leeuwenhoek takes his samples of sand grains from the stones of the nave of the Dom Church in Utrecht, which had been destroyed by a tornado in 1674.

Fig. 1: grain of sand from the red stone
Figs 2-4: grain of sand shown from different angles
Fig. 5: two grains of sand joined together
Figs 6-8: sand particle in a white marble stone
Fig. 9: crystal.

Object history

The Journal book mentions (1 March 1703/4): 'A Letter dated 1. Febr. from Mr. Leeuwenhoeck was Read, containing his observations on the Figures of the Particles of Sand in Stone, Marble, & Alabaster. He was Order'd to be thanked' (JBO/11/44).

Printed in A. Leeuwenhoek, ‘Concerning figures of sands’, Phil. Trans., vol. 24, no. 289 (January and February 1704), pp. 1537-55, tab. 2, figs 1-9.

Related Fellows

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

Associated place

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   > Europe
      > Netherlands