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Gorges Monument

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The Gorges Monument (1635) in Salisbury Cathedral is the tomb of Helena, Marchioness of Northampton and her husband Sir Thomas Gorges. Each side of the elaborate canopy above the tomb displays two cuboctahedra and an icosahedron. The monument as a whole is crowned by a celestial globe with a dodecahedron on top. This may be a reference to the Timaeus in which Plato relates each of the regular polyhedra to one of the Elements, and suggests that the dodecahedron might represent the whole Celestial Sphere.

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Plato postulated that the basic atomic components of the five Elements each had the form of one of the five regular solids. The picture above is based on Kepler’s drawing of the five solids, within each solid Kepler has represented the corresponding Element.

Photograph - Gary Cooper.
Text - Nick Mee from ‘Art and Mathematics’ CD-ROM published by Virtual Image