Glindoni’s portrait of Dee demonstrating before the Queen

John Dee Performing an Experiment before Elizabeth I by Henry Gillard Glindoni
Oil on canvas, 152 x 244.4 cm
Collection: Wellcome Library.

“The scene depicted is set within the house at Mortlake of Dr John Dee (1527–1608). At the court of Queen Elizabeth I, Dee was revered for the range of his knowledge, which embraced the fields of mathematics, navigation, geography, alchemy and chemistry, medicine and optics.”

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“He was a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and later one of the original Fellows of Trinity College (he declined a lecturing post at Oxford), and he had an international reputation. In the painting he is showing the effect of combining two elements, either to cause combustion or to extinguish it. Behind him is his assistant Edward Kelly, wearing a long skullcap to conceal the fact that his ears had been cropped as a punishment for forgery. Queen Elizabeth I paid several visits to Dee’s house in Mortlake and gave all her support to his research. In the picture the Queen sits in the left middle ground, Sir Walter Raleigh is on her left, and behind him, holding a staff, is the Lord Treasurer William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley.”

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[Recently a row of skulls have been revealed in a circle around Dee using radiography.
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