This print reproduces a painting exhibited by A. H. Tourrier at the Royal Academy in London in 1871. The scene shows a trio of nobles standing awed before an alchemist holding out a broken crucible in his right hand—presumably evidence of his success in chrysopoetic transmutation, or gold-making. The well-equipped workshop contains a furnace and rows of glassware, as well as fanciful distillation equipment at left. Though the fashion of the scene appears to set the moment in the 17th century, the tubing and glassware at left is more closely related to late-19th-century laboratory technologies. The staging of the scene recalls the many theatrical representations of alchemy presented during the early modern period, including Ben Jonson's comic play, "The Alchemist," first staged in London in 1610 and popular for over a century afterwards.
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