The Fortunes of Dr. Dee

Tuesday 13th June. 11.30 AM – ‘B’ Stage, Shepperton Studios. Back in Dr. Dee’s study where the Queen again consults him as the threat from Spain escalates.

Whilst Elizabeth often made use of Dee’s services she did not always reward him for his efforts. Following the death of his associate Edward Kelley whilst they were both at the court of the insane Emperor Rudolph II in Prague, Dee begged Elizabeth for leave to return to England. The queen received him at Richmond and awarded him a pension of two hundred pounds a year and appointed him warden of Christ’s College in Manchester. However the money from the Queen, as in so many cases, was not forthcoming. In response to an appeal for help his friends then raised £500 for him to live on but that soon dwindled. Dee’s last, sad days were described by his biographer, John Aubry. He says he was:
“a beaten old man with ‘a long beard as white as milke, tall and slender, who wore a gowne with hanging sleves”.
He earned a pittance telling penny fortunes on the street and even sold his precious books, one by one, in order to buy food. Dee died in 1608 in Mortlake, Surrey. He was 81 years old.

6 thoughts on “The Fortunes of Dr. Dee

  1. I am happy to see that Dee will be characterized in this film, he was a very interesting character which Raleigh was very interested in. Remeber the “School of Night” Justin? good insight to Raleigh’s character and religious beliefs.

  2. Justin,
    This is off topic but did someone really box a zebra? how many rounds? Who won?

  3. Mr Kapur,
    During the filming at Ely you may remember being approached by an Austrian extra with news of impending poetry, written in response to a first-timer’s work on set. I have put together a short sequence, but will not belabour you with the whole; rather, I reproduce the poem which I think best fits the entirety of my experience.
    I am due down at Shepperton on 21 June for another ad hoc day’s work. (My school has been good enough to grant me the day with you. I have told them to expect me back exhausted!)
    Kind Regards,
    Daniel Roy Connelly
    (I hope the line breaks hold. Often, when posted to the web, poetry delights in the opportunity to break ranks.)
    ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’
    ‘So uncessant is the wheeling and rolling on of our braines; which everie hour are tempring some newe peece of prodigie or other, and turmoyling, mixing, and changing the course of our thoughts.’
    Thomas Nashe, ‘The Terrors of the Night’, 1594.
    With its surgical light
    and cool-headed consultants
    who know how we should look,
    where we should stand,
    the Lady Chapel at Ely,
    Theatrum Orbis Terrarum,
    fulfils the latest longing for
    screened order and scripted worship,
    for a new moulding of England’s
    best and least-known monarch.
    Not banks of cameras but one,
    baroque as our hair,
    the mirror, its eye,
    turns its stare to nature,
    an actor, Regina,
    plays kingqueen, Gloriana.
    Flanked by bishops, rooks, and knights,
    Her Maphrodite will advance
    a square at a time
    or bifurcate the Chapel
    with a pistol-whip glance.
    All worldly power, all power, is centred here,
    tracking, mapping the marble floor
    over tombs of the once revered,
    Elizabeth lives as never before
    a life hangs by a thread on a spool,
    renewed with every take,
    suffused with this surgical light,
    a script written by the moment,
    by precedent and writer alike.

  4. …just googled Dee (as you do…& Raymond Lulle…) – did you know that he coined the name “Britannia” ? – how odd that a mystic should be consulted in this capacity – not much different to Indians, I guess…I suppose people with “imagination”, such as Dee, were consulted in a similar way to image consultants these days….

  5. Hello JUstin.
    Your Golden Age updates are superb – where can I access the first few as I can’t seem to go back to view them 9to early May??)
    Thanks again & keep up the great work !!!

  6. In terms of another string I came across on this site though apparently, now, disappeared into the Land of Lost Socks, in treating of the Copernican Theory, whilst not accepted in England by in large in this period, Raleigh and his School of Night, so-called, is known to have taken an interest in it. Presumably, they were inspired in this in some part by Giordano Bruno. It seems likely as well Kit Marlowe’s alleged heresies, which had him embroiled in some rather nasty difficulties in the time surrounding his most unfortunate death derived also from Bruno.
    To my knowledge, Elizabeth was rather more pragmatic and conventional in her religious and philosophical views. Though known to have had three Bruno works in her library, she’s also known to have condemned him as a “man of no faith.” That said, A’s invariably being attracted to Z’s and with, perhaps, the notable exception of Leicester (good looking, but not known as the swiftest blade in the drawer), she seems to have had a propensity for the poetic, freethinking type.

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