Ashmole, Elias (ăshˈmōl) [key], 1617–92, English archaeologist and antiquary. He made exhaustive antiquarian studies, especially The Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the Order of the Garter (1672) and The Antiquities of Berkshire (3 vol., 1719). In 1677 he donated to the Univ. of Oxford a collection of curiosities, including his own contributions and those bequeathed to him by a friend. His gift formed the nucleus of the Ashmolean Museum ăshmōˈlēən, the first such public institution in England. He later donated his library to Oxford, and the whole was housed in a building erected by Sir Christopher Wren. The collection is now in a 19th-century building and includes European works of art from medieval to present times as well as Asian works.
See his Autobiographical and Historical Notes and Correspondence, ed. by C. H. Josten (1967).
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