Bloom has good reason for associating "chemists" like Sweny with the "Quest for the philosopher's stone. The alchemists." These medieval and early modern experimenters were the precursors of modern chemists, and the elusive "stone" they sought was conceived not only as a spiritual boon and a source of wealth but also as a medical panacea.

John Hunt 2022

 The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers, a 1771 oil painting by Joseph Wright of Derby held in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. Source: Wikimedia Commons.