John Dee and Elisabeth I

When Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth I she offered John Dee a considerable amount of patronage. Quite apart from his skill in navigation, the queen believed in his magical powers and consulted him on a regular basis.

He chose her coronation date and even cast a spell on the Spanish armada in 1588 – presumably the Queen was suitably grateful. He continued to advise both her and her influential ministers including Walsingham and Cecil.

In 1595 Queen Elizabeth appointed Dee to the position of Warden of Christ’s Hospital College in Manchester. It was almost the last act of patronage before Elizabeth died a few years later.


In this painting John Dee is shown performing an experiment for Queen Elizabeth I and her court. You can see the faces of all the people in the room, they all look very interested in what he’s doing don’t they?

If you look closely at Dee you’ll see that he is pouring something from a little dark bottle into a small bowl on the floor. The liquid is creating a bright white fire with sparks of blue, that certainly looks like magic to us.

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