Alchemical symbolism and imagery.
Imagery and symbolism are important facets of alchemy. There are the little graphic signs for alchemical substances and processes, the images of alchemical apparatus and laboratory equipment, and the beautiful and enigmatic emblems and series of emblems that adorn many alchemical books and manuscripts. There are also a number of paintings on alchemical themes, and some artists were influenced, however peripherally, by alchemy.


Graphic signs for alchemical substances, processes and equipment.

Egyptian symbols for the metals Alchemical symbols used in 17th century
Alchemical and chemical symbols used by Scheele (18th century) Chemical symbols used by Dalton (19th century)
Comprehensive list from Medicinisch-Chymisch- und Alchemistisches Oraculum, Ulm, 1755. Alchemical and chemical symbols in Nicolas de Locques Les rudimens de la philosophie naturelle, Paris 1655.
Alchemical symbol fonts created by Adam McLean Alchemical and chemical symbols in Nicolas le Fevre Traicte de la chymie.
Alchemical Symbols from a work by Annibal Barlet Alchemical Symbols from Diderot's Encyclopedie
Alchemical Symbols from Goossen van Vreeswyk De Goude Leeuw Alchemical Symbols from Athanasius Kircher



Images of alchemical apparatus and laboratory equipment.

Images from Greek alchemical manuscripts Images from Greek alchemical manuscript in Venice
Images from Greek alchemical manuscripts in Paris Drawings from the Book of Crates
Drawings from a medieval Syrian manuscript Images from Islamic alchemical manuscripts
Chemical utensils from Libavius Alchymia, 1606 Vessels for digestion and circulation from Libavius Alchymia
Still heads from Libavius Alchymia Other chemical utensils from Libavius Alchymia
Receivers from Libavius Alchymia Apparatus for analysis and separation from Andreas Libavius Alchymia
Idealised design for a chemical institute, from Alchymia 42 woodcuts of alchemical and distilling apparatus
from John French The art of distillation
12 woodcuts of alchemical apparatus from Geber's Works Late mediaeval Indian alchemical apparatus.
Woodcuts from Birelli Alchimia Nova, 1603. Engravings Steven Blanckaert Theatrum chimicum, Amsterdam, 1693.


Images of laboratories and pharmacies.

Indian alchemical apparatus
Images of early pharmacies
Reconstruction of a late 16th Century alchemical laboratory Reconstruction of a 14th Century Arab Pharmacy in Toledo



Alchemical emblematic imagery.

Adam McLean's Art Gallery of hand-coloured alchemical images [over 800 items]
Alchemy Emblems project
Alchemical symbolism
Searchable database of alchemical emblems [500 + images]
Database of alchemical iconography
Images from alchemical manuscripts
Emblematic material related to alchemy
Astronomical/astrological emblematic material related to alchemy
Emblematic Art site - prints and paintings
Adam McLean's Art Weblog




Artworks on alchemical themes

Alchemy in art - engravings, drawings and paintings showing alchemist's laboratories
Contemporary artists influenced by alchemy
Alchemical engravings handcoloured by Adam McLean
Portraits of alchemists and hermetic philosophers



Other material

Enochian, Rosicrucian or Elemental Chess
Alchemical music [from Atalanta fugiens]
Study Courses


Alchemical, astrological and
emblematic art prints


Alchemy and art


Art books Series


Study course on Bosch's
Garden of Earthly Delights

New Hieronymus Bosch Website