Vincent of Beauvais (1)

Preface, ornamental illuminated initial and full border with hunting scene
St John’s Coll. MS B.21, f. 7r
Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum historiale Books I–VIII
Paris, ca 1300

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of St John’s College

Vincent of Beauvais (ca 1200–ca 1264) entered the Dominican priory of St Jacques in Paris ca 1215–1220, moving later to the priory at Beauvais. His most famous work is his Speculum maius, an encyclopaedia in three parts dealing respectively with philosophy and science, history, and the world of nature: Speculum doctrinale, Speculum historiale, and Speculum naturale. The most read of these, which exists in a great many medieval manuscripts, is the Speculum historiale, a history of the world from the Creation up to the thirteenth century. In the 1370s it was translated into French, Le miroir historial, by Jean de Vignay. A very important three volume set of the Speculum historiale from the Benedictine library of St Augustine’s Canterbury, written and illuminated in Paris ca 1300, is in the libraries of St John’s and Corpus Christi colleges. Here is shown the beginning of the Preface before Book I with a delicate illuminated ornamental initial with a full border with two hounds chasing a stag on the bottom bar.

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