image EL_L4_58_Fig
Image number: RS.15815
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Periosteum and how the membrane and bone are connected


20 November 1720


John Sturt (1658-1730, British), Engraver

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 205mm
width (page): 270mm



Seven engraved images. Original drawings can be found in Letter Book 15 (LBO/15/231). The printed images are cut out of plate 2 from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 31, no. 366 (1721). Leeuwenhoek had the images drawn for him. The copper plate for the Philosophical Transactions was engraved by John Sturt (signature on plate).

Letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society, in which he is trying to determine how the periosteum was joined to the vessels that compose the bones. The periosteum is the membrane enveloping the bones where no cartilage is present.

Fig. 1: Periosteum, or bone membrane of a cow, sheep or calf.
Fig. 2: the same bit of bone and membrane, but then cut in the length, showing all the vessels in the tissue as dots.
Fig. 3: a small bit of bone (RSTV) with membrane (SWXT), which is not thicker than the hair on a man's chin.
Fig. 4: a piece of bone of the rib of a cow with flesh, cut sectionally. YZAB shows the membrane, ZCDA the flesh fibres.
Fig. 5: a bit of the rib bone of a cow, where the bone membrane and the bone are still partly connected between K and C.
Figs 6 & 7: circumferences of the bone from which the membrane has been taken off.

Object history

Figures printed in A. Leeuwenhoek, 'Observations upon the Bones and the Periosteum', Phil. Trans. vol. 31, no. 366 (1721), pp. 91-97.

Related Fellows

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

Associated place

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