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Temporary exhibition label: Recent Acquisitions 2016

Mathematical aide-mémoire, English, c. 1665

This tiny silver medallion is a unique witness to 17th-century mathematical and commercial culture. On this side it shows solutions to quadratic equations – still taught to schoolchildren now, though in a different notation. On the reverse is a table for calculations of interest. Though everyone knew that arithmetic was useful for financial matters, an elegant and prestigious object such as this was never normally so directly about money.

Inv. 14977
Purchased with the support of the Arts Council’s PRISM Fund and an anonymous benefactor.

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