The plaque commemorating Boyle's birth on 25 January 1627 at Lismore, co. Waterford.

Boyle was the fourteenth and youngest child of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, by his second wife, Catherine.

A photograph of the plaque commemorating Boyle's birth
Lismore Castle, converted into a grand mansion by Boyle's ambitious father, the 'Great Earl of Cork', who became Lord High Treasurer of Ireland in 1631.

The gatehouse with its steeply pitched roof was built c.1610 and heightened in 1622. Other parts of the castle were reconstructed in the nineteenth century.

Image of Lismore Castle
Statue of Boyle as a boy on the tomb commissioned by his father at St Patrick's cathedral, Dublin, to commemorate Boyle's mother, Catherine, who died in 1630.

The tomb was completed around 1632.

Image of statue of Boyle as a boy on the tomb at St Patrick's cathedral, Dublin
Eton College, where Boyle was educated from 1635 to 1638.

Boyle's experiences at Eton were mixed, and in the end his father withdrew him from the school and gave him a private tutor.

Image of Eton College
Boyle's student notebook, written when he was tutored by the French Protestant scholar, Isaac Marcombes, at Geneva from 1642 to 1644.

Boyle was on the continent from 1639 to 1644, travelling to France, Switzerland and Italy.

Image of Boyle's student notebook (Royal Society MS 44 © The Royal Society)
Stalbridge House, Dorset, the manor bequeathed to Boyle by his father, which was his main base from 1645 to 1655.

The house no longer survives and neither does this picture which was photographed in the 1950's.

Image of picture of Stalbridge House
Oxford, where Boyle moved in 1655-6 to join the group of scientists established there, and where he lived till 1668.

Catte Street, shown here, has changed little since Boyle's time. You can see the Bodleian Library in the background.

Image of Oxford, Catte Street with Bodleian Library in the background
Seventeenth-century engraving of Boyle's famous air-pump or vacuum chamber, designed for him by Robert Hooke (1635-1703).

Substances or creatures could be placed in the glass globe, the air pumped out, and their behaviour observed.

The experiments carried out using this apparatus were reported in Boyle's first scientific book, published in 1660.

Image of a seventeenth  century engraving of Boyle's famous air-pump
The Royal Society as it is today, in Carlton House Terrace, London SW1, where the Boyle archive is housed.

The Society, which is the oldest scientific institution in the world, was founded in 1660 and Boyle was one of the first members.

View of Royal Society building
The title-page of the collected edition of Boyle's works in Latin brought out by the Geneva publisher, Samuel de Tournes, in 1680.

Editions like this helped to spread Boyle's fame throughout Europe, although Boyle had mixed feelings about them.

Image of title page of Boyle's works in Latin published by Samuel de Tornes in 1680
Boyle died on 31st December 1691, 8 days after his beloved sister Katherine, Lady Ranelagh, with whom he had shared a house since 1668.

The sermon preached at his funeral on January 7th, 1692 by Gilbert Burnet is an important source for Boyle's life.

Image of facsimile of sermon preached at Boyle's funeral in 1792
The posthumous image of Boyle: an idealised bust of him by the Italian sculptor, Giovanni Battista Guelfi (1690/1- after 1734).

The bust was commissioned by Boyle's great nephew, the 3rd Earl of Burlington.

Bust of Boyle by Guelfi