An alchemist at work, 1535.
3 8 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 30cm

An alchemist at work, 1535.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Hand-coloured woodcut from the 'Origin of Things' section of the 'Margarita Philosophica' ('The Philosophical Pearl'), by Gregor Reisch (1467?-1525). First printed in 1503, this book was once considered the 'tree of all knowledge'. Divided into twelve 'books', it covers the topics of mathematics, cosmography, music, natural history, minerals, astronomy and medicine. Its illustrations, which are of great scientific and historical interest, are some of the earliest known depictions of the various subjects.

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