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Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians
Regent's Park
London
free
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Save the date! In 2016 a major exhibition at the Royal College of Physicians will document the fascinating life, times and lost library of Queen Elizabeth I’s most famous ‘conjurer’. John Dee (1527–1609) is one of the most intriguing characters of 16th century England. He was a member of the Elizabethan court and became infamous for his attempts to make contact with other-worldly spirits. Dee studied and practiced alchemy, but was also a mathematician, astrologer and navigator. He taught rhetoric and was one of the founding members of  Trinity College, Cambridge. His library, renowned as one of the most famous collections of books and manuscripts of its time, was pillaged and dispersed while Dee was travelling in Europe during the 1580s.

The Royal College of Physicians keeps more than 100 books previously belonging to Dee and thereby owns the largest known collection of his books surviving in one location. The Dee collection contains some of the most dramatic and beautiful books in the library of the Royal College, including mathematical, astronomical and alchemical texts, many of them annotated by Dee himself.