Microscopy – Diatom Arrangements by Klaus Kemp

Diatoms make great subjects for microscopy given the fine details in their structure. In addition to slides with a strew of material and single examples of given species some slide makers have produced amazing arrangements either to show what species are present in a given area, or to create fantastic works of art. While more common in the Victorian era, the production of these artistic arrangements has continued into the 20th and 21st century with a few very skilled practitioners. Today I’d like to share a few examples from the amazing Klaus Kemp (now sadly passed away) which I feel very privileged to have in my collection. All images were taken on my modified Olympus BHB microscope, using 450nm light, and with a Leitz Heine condenser. They have been reduced in resolution for sharing here, so some of the fine detail present will have been lost.

First up an exhibition rosette with 136 diatoms.

Klaus Kemp 136 form exhibition rosette

This slide has unfortunately had an accident at some point in its past. However it will be well looked after and at some point I may try repairing it.

Klaus Kemp 136 form slide

Next, another exhibition rosette, this time a 145 form one.

Klaus Kemp 145 form exhibition rosette

And the slide.

Klaus Kemp 136 form slide

A smaller example now, a 25 diatom exhibition star.

Klaus Kemp 25 diatom exhibition star

And the slide.

Klaus Kemp 25 diatom exhibition star slide

Next is a circular arrangement, again with 25 diatoms.

Klaus Kemp 25 diatom circle

And the slide for the circle.

Klaus Kemp 25 diatom circle slide

For the final couple of examples, we’re moving away from the more artistic arrangements to ‘Type Slides’. Both of these are with 50 forms, and both images are much smaller than the original file sizes to allow me to upload and share (for example Type Slide 2 was made from a composite of 4 stacks of images and the original file size was 24750×5504 pixels!!).

Klaus Kemp 50 form Type Slide 1
50 form type slide 1
Klaus Kemp 50 form Type Slide 1
Klaus Kemp 50 form Type Slide 2

These slides really are works of art, crafted by a hugely skilled diatomist. Thank you Klaus for the beauty you brought to the world.

As always, I hope you enjoyed the post, and if you’d like to know more about my work I can be reached here.