FLEMING (ALEXANDER) Sample of penicillin mould, signed and inscribed by Fleming on the reverse "The mould that first made Penicillin/ Alexander Fleming",
Lot 92
FLEMING (ALEXANDER)
Sample of penicillin mould, signed and inscribed by Fleming on the reverse "The mould that first made Penicillin/ Alexander Fleming",
Sold for £ 11,875 (US$ 16,905) inc. premium

Lot Details
FLEMING (ALEXANDER) Sample of penicillin mould, signed and inscribed by Fleming on the reverse "The mould that first made Penicillin/ Alexander Fleming",
FLEMING (ALEXANDER)
Sample of penicillin mould, signed and inscribed by Fleming on the reverse "The mould that first made Penicillin/ Alexander Fleming", mounted within a glass disc, held by a black plastic rim, 53mm. diameter

Footnotes

  • 'THE MOULD THAT FIRST MADE PENICILLIN – ALEXANDER FLEMING', a fine example of a mould medallion, produced by Fleming in his own laboratory: 'Using his usual ingenuity and imaginative approach to laboratory techniques, he invented a method of growing the penicillin on discs of blotting paper, which he then fixed with formalin and mounted between sheets of spectacle glass enclosed by tortoiseshell or gold rims' (Kevin Brown, Penicillin Man: Alexander Fleming and the Antibiotic Revolution, 2004, pp.176).

    Recipients of these unconventional medallions included Pope Pius XII (who was given a prototype stuck together with Elastoplast in return for a papal medal when he received Fleming in audience in 1945), the Queen Mother, Prince Philip, Marlene Dietrich, Churchill and Roosevelt: 'These insignificant-looking artefacts soon took on the status of holy relics, and indeed one of them, given by Fleming to Edgar Lawley, Vice-Chairman of St Mary's Board of Governors and a Trustee of the Wright Fleming Institute, in 1952, was actually mounted in a gold desk stand reminiscent of the medieval reliquaries used to house saints' body parts or fragments of the true cross' (Brown, pp.176-7).

Saleroom notices

  • This sample is from the collection of Fleming's niece, Mary Anne Johnston (see lot 91 in this sale).
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