Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Les livres du gouvernement des roys et des princes, Seated prince conversing with scholar, Walters Manuscript W.144, fol. 35v

This early fourteenth century English manuscript is an example of Henri de Gauchy’s French translation of De regimine principum. Giles of Rome first composed the text in Latin for Philip of the Fair around 1277, and it was soon translated into several vernacular languages. Henri de Gauchy’s was the most prolifically copied of the French translations, and remains extant in thirty-one copies, only six of which are of English origin. The quality of the illumination in Walters 144 suggests that this book was destined for a king or member of the nobility, though it has no evidence of ownership prior to 1463. The text is divided into three books, intended to instruct princes on his ethical, economical and political responsibilities: the conduct of the individual, the rule of the family and household, and the governance of the kingdom. Scenes of princes and scholars conversing, and princes instructing their subjects are among the ten miniatures and historiated initials. The book is a member of the Queen Mary Psalter group (BL Royal 2 B VII).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Abbot Duden, Evangelist portrait of Luke, Walters Art Museum W.5, fol.59v

This small Gospel Book was made in Werden, Germany in the eleventh century. Its small size indicates it was intended for daily, personal use, and a series of ownership inscriptions on the first folio, which trace how the book changed hands among several members of the clergy, provide insight into its use. Although the book contains little decoration, with no canon tables or ornamental initials, the Gospels are introduced by three accomplished brown and red ink pen drawings of the Evangelists, two of which were cleverly embedded into the end of the previous Gospel by the artist. The manuscript is, however, incomplete, and lacks the end of Matthew as well as the portrait of Mark, which was likely incorporated into Matthew's explicit page as was done with the other portraits.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An Ottoman Map - Of England

Illuminated Manuscript, Maritime atlas, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.660, fol.5a

This is an illuminated and illustrated maritime atlas, referred to as the Walters Deniz atlası. It is an early Ottoman atlas, perhaps dating to the tenth century AH / sixteenth CE. The work contains eight double-page charts executed on parchment. Four of the maps show the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black seas. There is also a world map and a chart of the Indian Ocean. The various geographical names are written in black nastaʿlīq script. A distinguishing feature of this atlas is the detailed approach to representing such features as city vignettes.