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History of UniversitiesVolume XXVI/1$
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Mordechai Feingold

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199652068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199652068.001.0001

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The Invisible Virtuoso

The Invisible Virtuoso

Bengt Skytte and the Royal Society*

(p.117) The Invisible Virtuoso
History of Universities

Jane Finucane

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Bengt Skytte's draft and propositions that would establish a ‘College of the Wise’ in England. In 1660, when he was staying in London, Skytte, a Swedish scholar and noble, sent Samuel Hartlib a draft ‘Royal Charter’ and a list of propositions defending this College of the Wise. Certain historians of early restoration science who have examined Skytte's project argued that the College of the Wise was a catalyst for the Royal Society's formalisation. Drawing on new source material, this chapter reassesses Skytte's project in the context of his intellectual activities and political projects in London. In particular, it looks at Skytte's College of the Wise in relation to a complex set of broadly similar proposals which, taken together, yield insights into perceptions of science and state on the eve of the Restoration. It also considers the timing and some of the features of Skytte's plan with reference to his struggle to secure patronage in a context which proved favourable to the Gresham College group.

Keywords:   science, Bengt Skytte, College of the Wise, England, London, Samuel Hartlib, Royal Society, Restoration, patronage, Gresham College

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