A young man conducting an experiment in a chemical laboratory. Photograph.

[between 1800 and 1899]
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A young man conducting an experiment in a chemical laboratory. Photograph. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark. Source: Wellcome Collection.

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Notes kindly provided by Dr T. Tansey, 1999: Datable from the gas lighting bracket, no electricity (note window ledge lab bench for better natural light). Seems to be a research lab (as opposed to teaching) and comparatively well equipped. Chemical work of some kind going on - most probably analytical and/or extraction chemistry. Might well be extraction of "active principle" sort of work - pestle and mortar, "fractionation" columns, etc. point in that direction. There appears to be a Bunsen burner and a form of Liebig's condenser amongst the apparatus, which might be a further clue to the date. Is this actually an experiment in progress or a photo-oportunity with most pieces of apparatus brought out specially? Would all this glassware be in use at the same time, or would most of it be carefully stored in the cabinet at the back? The swan-necked flask and condenser would be very expensive, also the desiccators. Why are the benches at different levels? Is the table in the forefront actually a desk (I think there is a chair behind the man) brought into the picture to support the display of apparatus? There appear to be some bottles of reagents on the bench to the left of the man - coloured indicators? And is that a cupboard of chemicals in the far corner to the right of him, or a balance cupboard? Curious that he's holding two tubes: what's he looking for - a colour reaction? a precipitate? Odd to that he's holding it at the bottom, not at the top

Flower-pattern wallpaper on wall behind


[Place of publication not identified], [between 1800 and 1899]

Physical description

1 photograph : photoprint ; image 15.8 x 21.7 cm


Wellcome Collection 46866i


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