The labors of an elderly alchemist are closely watched by a monkey which perches on the window above. The alchemist busies himself investigating samples wrapped in paper or notes in a cluttered workshop. The floor at his feet is filled with discarded vessels, broken earthenware, and lumps of charcoal. A dog rests on the ground beside a portable furnace topped with a still-head. Rows of glass vessels and flasks hang on the far wall, and in the background three assistants work with a distillation apparatus, grind materials in a mortar, and examine a specimen in a flask. A woman peers around the half-open door to watch their work.