Some of Australia’s earliest scientific drawings are finally giving up their secrets under x-ray examination.

A key feature of the drawings brought to the Australian Synchrotron is their use of gold, silver and brass leaf with watercolours to create iridescent effects. The drawings cannot be touched due to their delicate nature, so the Synchrotron is the only way to examine the very fine detail of the drawings, in which many of the brushstrokes are finer than 0.1 millimetre.

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