Alchemy Pictures and Images

Alchemy may be considered as the precursor to the modern science of chemistry. This image gallery displays some of the images and pictures associated with alchemy and the history of chemistry.

Symbols on Flamel's Tomb

Nicholas Flamel had mysterious alchemical images carved on his tomb.
Nicholas Flamel had mysterious alchemical images carved on his tomb. According to the Testament of Flamel, Nicolas Flamel became obsessed with the Philosopher's Stone after witnessing the death of his wife, Perenelle. From the engravings on Flamel's tomb.

According to the Testament of Flamel, Flamel eventually unlocked the secrets of the Philosopher's Stone and gained the Elixir of Life. After Perenelle's death, Flamel remarried and passed on his secrets to at least one son.

Flamel's death was recorded as 1418, but his tomb was found empty. Some say Flamel is still alive today.

Alchemical Laboratory

This woodcut depicts an alchemical laboratory.
This woodcut depicts an alchemical laboratory. Project Gutenberg

The Alchemist

This is a picture of a painting entitled 'The Alchemist'.
This is a picture of a painting entitled 'The Alchemist'. William Fettes Douglas (1822 - 1891)

Egyptian Metal Symbols

These are the Egyptian alchemical symbols for the metals.
These are the Egyptian alchemical symbols for the metals. From Lepsius, Metals in Egyptian Inscriptions, 1860.

Jabir ibn Hayyan

Jabir ibn Hayyan applied an experimental scientific approach to alchemy.
Jabir ibn Hayyan sometimes is considered to be the 'father of chemistry'. He applied an experimental scientific approach to alchemy. 15th c. European portrait of "Geber"

Upon the fall of the Roman Empire, progress in alchemy was focused in the Islamic world. Quite a lot is known about Islamic alchemy because it was well-documented.

The Planetary Metals

These are the alchemical or astrological symbols/glyphs for the planets.
These are the alchemical or astrological symbols/glyphs for the planets and other celestial bodies. The metals were 'ruled' by planets and had the same symbols. Gerbrant, Wikipedia Commons

Chemistry and astrology were related in alchemy. There were seven planetary metals that were ruled by corresponding celestial bodies. Often the symbols for the planets and the metals were the same.

  • gold or aurum was dominated by Sol, the sun
  • silver or argentum was dominated by Luna, the moon
  • copper or cuprum was dominated by Venus
  • iron or ferrum was dominated by Mars
  • tin or stannum was dominated by Jupiter
  • mercury (quicksilver) or hydrargyrum was dominated by Mercury
  • lead or plumbum was dominated by Saturn
Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto had not been discovered at the time of the alchemists. Modern alchemists sometimes consider the symbols for these planets to represent the metals uranium, neptunium and plutonium.

The Alchemist - Bega

Bega made this oil painting entitled 'The Alchemist' in 1663.
Bega made this oil painting entitled 'The Alchemist' in 1663. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Cleopatra's Alchemy Equipment

This Greek image depicts Cleopatra's alchemical gold-making apparatus.
This Greek image depicts Cleopatra's alchemical gold-making apparatus. from an ancient Greek manuscript

Democritus Still

This image shows the still used by Democritus for distillation.
This image shows the still used by Democritus for distillation. from an ancient Greek alchemy manuscript

Indian Alchemy Apparatus

This is an image of an Indian alchemical apparatus.
This is an image of an Indian alchemical apparatus. from an Indian alchemy manuscript

Hans Weiditz - An Alchemist

Hans Weiditz - An Alchemist, c. 1520.
Hans Weiditz - An Alchemist, c. 1520. Hans Weiditz

Alchemist with Furnace Fresco

This is a fresco that shows an alchemist with his furnace.
This is a fresco that shows an alchemist with his furnace. Fresco from Padua c. 1380

Dalton's Element and Molecule Symbols

This is the first page from John Dalton's books, A New System of Chemical Philosophy.
This is the first page from John Dalton's books, A New System of Chemical Philosophy, depicting atoms of chemical elements and some molecules. John Dalton's A New System of Chemical Philosophy (1808).

From the text of the book (using Dalton's names):

1. Hydrogen, its relative weight 1
2. Azote 5
3. Carbone or charcoal 5
4. Oxygen 7
5. Phosphorous 9
6. Sulphur 13
7. Magnesia 20
8. Lime 23
9. Soda 28
10. Potash 42
11. Strontites 46
12. Barytes 68
13. Iron 38
14. Zinc 56
15. Copper 56
16. Lead 95
17. Silver 100
18. Platina 100
19. Gold 140
20. Mercury 167
21. An atom of water or steam, composed of 1 of oxygen and 1 of hydrogen, retained in physical contact by a strong affinity, and supposed to be surrounded by a common atmosphere of heat; its relative weight = 8
22. An atom of ammonia, composed of 1 of azote and 1 of hydrogen 6
23. An atom of nitrous gas, composed of 1 of azote and 1 of oxygen 12
24. An atom of olefiant gas, composed of 1 of carbone and 1 of hydrogen 6
25. An atom of carbonic oxide composed of 1 of carbone and 1 of oxygen 12
26. An atom of nitrous oxide, 2 azote + 1 oxygen 17
27. An atom of nitric acid, 1 azote + 2 oxygen 19
28. An atom of carbonic acid, 1 carbone + 2 oxygen 19
29. An atom of carburetted hydrogen, 1 carbone + 2 hydrogen 7
30. An atom of oxynitric acid, 1 azote + 3 oxygen 26
31. An atom of sulphuric acid, 1 sulphur + 3 oxygen 34
32. An atom of sulphuretted hydrogen, 1 sulphur + 3 hydrogen 16
33. An atom of alcohol, 3 carbone, + 1 hydrogen 16
34. An atom of nitrous acid, 1 nitric acid + 1 nitrous gas 31
35. An atom of acetous acid, 2 carbone + 2 water 26
36. An atom of nitrate of ammonia, 1 nitric acid + 1 ammonia + 1 water 33
37. An atom of sugar, 1 alcohol + 1 carbonic acid 35