St Albertus Magnus (2)

Ornamental illuminated initial S and full border at the beginning of Book I, De communi diversitate animalium in membris et vita
Sidney Sussex Coll. MS 46, f. 1r
Albertus Magnus, De animalibus
England, before 1498

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Sidney Sussex College

This copy of De animalibus was made in England in the late fifteenth century with a fine illuminated border containing flowers and strawberries at the beginning of Book I. It also contains scrolls inscribed (A)mez pour le myeulx and Virtuti parent omnia with the name of J. Gunthorpe on the left-hand scroll for whom the book was apparently made. John Gunthorpe became dean of the royal chapel of St Stephen at Westminster in 1476 and died in 1498, giving a terminus ante dating for the book. St Albert also wrote other scientific treatises on astronomy and meteorology, precious stones and rocks, the Liber Meteororum and the De mineralibus, inspired as in the case of De animalibus by Aristotle’s works with similar titles. He also wrote on botanical subjects concerning herbs and plants, the De virtutibus herbarum and De vegetabilibus, the latter a commentary on Aristotle De plantis. Fine fifteenth-century English copies of the Liber Meteororum, De mineralibus and De vegetabilibus are Gonville and Caius MS 507/385, Peterhouse MS 202 and Peterhouse MS 227.

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