image EL_L4_62_Fig
Image number: RS.15817
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Observations of the plant 'palma ceres'


15 January 1721


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number





height (page): 82mm
width (page): 176mm



Two engraved images. The printed images are cut out from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 31, no. 369 (1721). Leeuwenhoek had the images drawn for him.

Letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society. The letter is written in Latin, a language Leeuwenhoek did not have, so this letter must have been translated and written down by someone else.

From the brown glue marks on the paper it is clear that the letter once had a different size and form of images stuck to the page than currently. The original drawings with the same glue stains can now be found in Letter Book 15 (LBO/15/302-03). The images that can be seen here were engraved and printed for the Philosophical Transactions. There were only two original images; they are numbered 3 and 4, because they were part of a larger copper plate with seven images for Phil. Trans. no. 369.

Fig. 3: a small part of the skin of a peach observed through a microscope, showing the 'hair' that grows on it.
Fig. 4: a similar piece of skin from a quince apple.

Object history

16 May 1623, 'A letter in Latin from Mr Leeuwenhoeck dated 15th of January 1721 was read, wherein he sets down some microscopical observations on the texture of the leaves of the Box tree, with some others on the texture of the Down on Peaches, and quinces. [...] Mr Leeuwenhoeck was ordered thanks' (JBO/13/286).

Figures printed in A. Leeuwenhoek, 'De osculis, sive spiraculis foliorum buxi, item de lanugine malorum persicorum & cydoniorum', Phil. Trans. vol. 31, no. 369 (1721), pp. 231-34.

Related Fellows

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

Associated place

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