History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search


Donation to Bodleian

The Bodleian Library Benefactors' Register records Sir Josias Bodley's gift of the sphere (and other instruments) in 1601.

However, it appears that the sphere only arrived in Oxford in 1613, after Sir Thomas Bodley's death. R. T. Gunther, Early Science in Oxford, vol. 2, p. 148 cites a Bodleian MS "A Book of Accompts for ye Librarie since Sr Thomas death Ao 1613" with the entry:
27 Mar. payed for bringing ye iron chest and ye brazen sphere from London. 0-2-0

So it seems likely that the sphere passed from Josias to Thomas in 1601 (perhaps when Josias left for Ireland). Gunther infers that it remained in Sir Thomas's London house, along with other material, until 1613.

As confirmation of Gunther's source, Steven Tomlinson <srt@bodley.ox.ac.uk> sent an email on 24 Sep 2001:

I've found confirmation of the 1613 arrival of the sphere in Oxford but my source is slightly different from that described by Gunther and I have to confess I don't know what MS. he's referring to. I could find no entry in the main Bodleian Library account book, 1613-76, the first half of which was edited by Gwen Hampshire for the Oxford Bib. Soc. But she does record it in the appendix to her edition, where she includes transcripts of some actual bills which survive for the early period.

One of these is a bill headed 20 Jul. 1613, 'Expences for ye Library since sr Thomas Bodleys death'. Here the following entry appears:

Item payed for bringing yron chest to Mr Vicechancellour and ye brazen sphere to ye Librarie wth an Hampire of books ii s

This bill is to be found in a bound volume of early bills referenced Library Records b.36.

Other narratives:

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