Odds and Quads

August 2, 2012


The main illustration is taken from the Ripley Scroll (one of about 20 surviving copies) held by the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge.

Drawing on the work of the author and alchemist Sir George Ripley (c.1415-90), such scrolls include exceptionally elaborate symbolic imagery as well as instructions on how to create the philosopher's stone.

Each scroll can be as long as 20ft.

The Fitzwilliam was founded in 1816 by the 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, an alumnus of Trinity Hall, who donated 144 paintings, a substantial collection of books, music and medieval manuscripts, plus £100,000 to build an "unforgettable monument".

Finally opened in 1848, it now houses more than half a million objects and remains an integral part of the university. Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry