image ashmole,e_theatrum_chemicum_britannicum_002
Image number: RS.14197
Credit: ©The Royal Society

‘The Ordinall of Alchimy’

Date

1652

Creator

Robert Vaughan (b.1590, British), Engraver

Object type

Library reference

16605

Material

Technique

Dimensions

height (page): 187mm
width (page): 133mm
height (print): 142mm
width (print): 101mm

Subject

Description

Four men look down from a balcony on four alchemists, or alchemists’ assistants, who seem to be grinding and heating metals. Speech scrolls identify the observers as ‘Geberus’, ‘Arnoldus’ ‘Rafis’ and ‘Hermes’; the latter’s crown possibly identifying him as Hermes, God of trade and merchants. A thick border of flowers, insects, a dog and a rat line the print.

Border inscription: ‘Ro: Vaughan Sculp:’

Figure 2 from Elias Ashmole’s Theatrum chemicum Britannicum: containing severall poeticall pieces of our famous English philospohers…, a compilation of alchemical literature selected and annotated by the author. This figure illustrates Thomas Norton’s poem ‘The Ordinall of Alchimy’, a poetic guide to the precise processes of alchemy, first published in 1477.

Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) British astrologer and antiquary was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1661.

Associated place

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