Peter Leopold's chemistry cabinet
Grand Duke Peter Leopold vigorously promoted science. He even took a personal interest in the natural and experimental sciences that made such outstanding progress in the second half of the eighteenth century. The Grand Duke's passion for analytical chemistry is witnessed by his collection of chemical preparations and his Banco or chemistry cabinet. When shut, the cabinet resembles a large trunk; when open, it reveals a slate worktable on which experiments can be performed. Around the table are small drawers and shelves for storing instruments and chemicals. On both sides are stands for vessels and for a candlestick. The lower part serves as a cupboard fitted with pedal-driven bellows for the purpose of improving the combustion of substances. On the cabinet are bottles of compounds prepared for Peter Leopold.
The cabinet attests to an enlightened sovereign's passion for science and experiment. The Grand Duke was fully aware of the benefits that would accrue from the development of chemical knowledge. With its complex arrangements and fittings, this is an exceptional piece. The cabinets used by eighteenth-century pharmacists and chemists were, in fact, plain wooden tables.
Last update 16/gen/2008