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Inventory no. 15449 - Former Display Label

JOHN DEE'S "HOLY TABLE"
late 17th century

Dimensions: 60.0 x 46.3 cm. Unsigned and undated.

Marble copy of the top of the Holy Table constructed by the mathematician and geographer Dr. John Dee (1527-1608), following the directions of the "angelic spirits" delivered through the medium Edward Kelly (1555-95). It was employed by Dee for astrological purposes. The characters inside the diagram belong to Dee's "Enochian Alphabet". A transcription of the central square, reading from left to right, is: "OIT / RLU / LRL / OOE".

The copy was probably made from an engraving published in Merric Casaubon, A True and faithful Relation of what passed for many years between Dr. John Dee and some Spirits, tending (had it succeeded) to a General Alteration of most States and Kingdomes in the World (London, 1659). It was presented to the Bodleian Library in 1750 by Dr. Richard Rawlinson (1690-1755), according to whom it had previously belonged to the astrologer William Lilly (1602-81).

The original table, apparently of wood, was last recorded in the library of Sir Thomas Cotton (1594-1662), along with associated Dee relics which are now in the British Museum. Earlier, in 1618, this "table with caracteres and devises uppon it which was kept covered" was in the house of John Pountys (or Pontois).

[63-163]
Transferred from the Ashmolean Museum

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