In March 1997 the Society for Renaissance Studies and Gresham College together organised a conference to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Gresham College’s foundation. The papers delivered at that conference and assembled in this book examine why Gresham College was established, and how its purposes and activities dovetailed with the socio-cultural life of Elizabethan and Stuart London. The first group of papers considers the social and mercantile career of Sir Thomas Gresham within the commercial centre of Elizabethan London; why he wished to establish Gresham College; and what functions he may have intended it to serve. The second group sets the academic activities of the College and its professors within the broader context of contemporary intellectual life. Papers in this group consider in what ways early Gresham professors contributed in particular to developments in the more practical disciplines such as geometry and astronomy.
'Several of (the chapters) illuminate in a significant way the place of mathematics and astronomy in the capital… reveals much about the state of mathematical studies…' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXXI '… a well researched and illustrated piece… Ashgate has done a good job of production. The book has a fine index and its numerous illustrations include actual plates increasingly rare in books outside the field of art history.' Albion, Vol. 33
Contents: Introduction; Francis Ames-Lewis; Reconstructing London: Sir Thomas Gresham and Bishopsgate, Ann Saunders; Sir Thomas and the ’House of Gresham’: activities of a mercer-merchant adventurer, Ian Blanchard; Citizen and mercer: Sir Thomas Gresham and the social and political world of the city of London, Vanessa Harding; Failed transmission: Sir Thomas Gresham, reproduction, and the background to Gresham’s professorship of physic, Margaret Pelling; Early insurance in and around the Royal Exchange, Trevor Sibbett; Sculpture at the Royal Exchange in the seventeenth century, Katharine Gibson; Civic rhetoric, 1560-1640, Lynette Hunter; Plato in the Tudor academies, Sarah Hutton; Testimonia humanitatis: the early lectures of Henry Savile, Robert Goulding; ’No small force’: natural philosophy and mathematics in Thomas Gresham’s London, Stephen Clucas; Gresham College and London practitioners: the nature of the English mathematical community, Mordechai Feingold; Christopher Wren’s Greshamite history of astronomy and geometry, Jim Bennett; Why translate Serlio?, J.V. Field; Index.