image EL_L3_76_Fig
Image number: RS.15805
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Silver sulphate crystals


12 March 1705


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number





height (page): 155mm
width (page): 195mm



10 figures. This letter is a copy in the hand of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek of a letter from him to Antonio Magliabechi. The original drawings are lost, and these printed ones come from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, in which the letter was published.

Leeuwenhoek was experimenting with putting silver in aqua fortis and observing the crystals that were formed on the inside of a glass tube.

Fig. 1: the real size of a silver particle that had been transformed into a crystal.
Fig. 2: a somewhat bigger crystal.
Fig. 3: a common six-sided silver crystal.
Figs 4-5: slightly more flat particles.
Fig. 6: WXYZ also represents a crystalline silver particle, to which the lowermost parts, designated between W and Y, impart to the crystalline particle a different appearance from what it really has.
Fig. 7: also represents a crystalline particle, which seemed uncommonly shaped by the draftsman.
Fig. 8: ABCDEF also represents a crystalline particle, on which we see that the six-sided part CDE is very short in comparison with the slanting part designated by EFABC.
Fig. 9-10: particles found in a glass tube when combining gold and aqua regia.

Object history

A. Leeuwenhoek, ‘Particles of silver dissolved in aqua fortis’, Phil. Trans. vol. 25, no. 311 (July, August and September 1707), pp. 2425-32, figs 1-10.

Related Fellows

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

Associated place

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