Sir George Ripley was a famous 15th century English alchemist, second only to Roger Bacon.

Ripley studied for twenty years in Italy where he became a great favourite of Pope Innocent VIII. He returned to England in the year of 1477 and wrote his famous work “The Compound of Alchymy; or, the Twelve Gates leading to the Discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone”, dedicated to King Edward IV and highly appreciated by him. His twenty-five volume work upon Alchemy, of which the Liber Duodecem Portarum was the most important, brought him considerable fame.

Being particularly rich, he gave the general public some cause to believe in his ability to change base metal into gold. For example, Thomas Fuller in his Worthies of England describes a reputable English gentleman who reported having seen a record in the island of Malta which stated that Ripley gave the enormous sum of one hundred thousand pounds sterling annually to the Knights of that island and of Rhodes to support their war against the Turks.

Epistle to King Edward IV: This is included in The compound of alchymy. Or the ancient hidden art of archemie: conteining the right and perfectest meanes to make the philosophers stone… Divided into twelve gates… Whereunto is adioyned his epistle to the king, his vision, his wheele, and his other workes… Set foorth by Raph Rabbards. London, 1591.”