image ashmole,e_theatrum_chemicum_britannicum_003
Image number: RS.14198
Credit: ©The Royal Society

‘The Ordinall of Alchimy’




Robert Vaughan (b.1590, British), Engraver

Object type

Library reference





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



A man sits at a table opposite a set of apothecary scales, looking down at the sun and the moon. Two alchemists, or alchemists' assistants, attend to furances in front of him. The three figures are positioned in between two columns. On top of the left column as viewed is a naked woman, and on top of the right a naked man, possibly Eve and Adam. A thick border of flowers, insects and birds lines the print.

Speech scrolls suround all three figures. They are inscribed in Latin: 'Compo ne lapidem absque repug nantia' [...]

Figure 3 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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