Cinnaber Naturalis

Leeuwenhoek, A. van
Leiden: Boutesteyn

Full title:

Ontledingen en Ontdekkingen van de Cinnaber naturalis, en Bus-poeder; van het maaksel van Been en Huyd; van de Galnoot, Kastanie en Okkernoot; van de Voortteelinge van eenige Saden, Vergeleken by de Voortteelinge van Garnaad, Krabbe en Kreeft; Waar in de deugdsaamheid van het Eyken-hout bestaat, en hoe het te kennen is.

Vervat in verscheide Brieven, Geschreven aan de Wyd-vermaarde Koninglyke Wetenschap-zoekende Societeir tot Londen.

Dissections and Discoveries of natural cinnabar, and tin-powder; of the structure of bone and skin; the gall-nut, chestnut and walnut; of the reproduction of some seeds, compared to the reproduction of shrimp, crab and lobster; In which the virtue of the oak wood consists, and how to recognize it.

Contained in various Letters Written to the widely renowned Royal Knowledge-seeking Society in London.

Dobell #9: Letters 48 - 52

This self-published pamphlet printed by Cornelis Boutesteyn in Leiden contained five letters, all written in 1686 to the Royal Society (AB/CL 89, 90, 92, 93, 94).

It had a title page followed by a blank page and then continuous pagination, 3 to 110. The letters were dated but not numbered. Each letter was preceded by a summary, a list of topics in paragraph form, sort of a table of contents without the page numbers.

It is available online at Utrecht University Library.         

Dobell #9a: Letters 48 - 52

A second edition, printed in Leiden by J. A. Langerack in 1713. He used the same plates but re-typeset the text, making minor changes. For example, on page 28, the 1687 edition had the word zuyver twice. The 1713 edition changed the first to suiver but left the second, three lines later, zuyver. By the end of the letter, page 44, the 1713 edition was two lines longer.

It is available online at Google Books.


In all of these versions, most of the figures were engraved in the text.

1686-01-22    48      3 figures
1686-04-02    49      4 figures
1686-05-14    50    15 figures
1686-06-10    51    24 figures  
1686-07-10    52      3 figures

In Letter 48, the figures were labeled "No." instead of the usual "Fig."

In Letter 51, the first six figures were on a plate between pages 66 and 67. In total, Leeuwenhoek's numbering had 23 numbered figures. Alle de Brieven / Collected Letters assigned 24 figures, saying that two figures were numbered 6. In his short 15-word discussion of them, Leeuwenhoek treated Fig. 6 as one figure because both images showed the same thing: a young plant with the leaves not very far stretched out.

In Letter 52, Figure 1 was printed and discussed on both pages 95 and 103.