{    Cnytr   }

{Thursday, July 21, 2005  }

.:{Illustrations from the Life of St. Thomas Aquinas}:.

Today at job #2 (I LOVE job #2) I came across the first medieval manuscript I've ever seen -- I was supposed to be recording barcode numbers in the rare book room... yeah, right -- and ooohhh the most beautifully carved wooden cover with leather and iron clasps and hand-written gothic script. Another student had dutifully scribbled in the margins of what looked like either a commentary on Aristotle or a Latin translation of Aristotle himself. I didn't stop to linger because then I found ...

the Illustrated Life of St. Thomas Aquinas.

This volume itself, though falling-apart, was not very old -- 19th century, I'd say -- but it had some strange and wonderful images from the life of St. Thomas Aquinas.

And so, for your enjoyment, behold the scans of the illustrated life of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Very soon I shall transcribe and translate the Latin inscriptions, stay tuned.
posted by Lauren, 11:35 PM


If you ever come across thirteenth century school texts in manuscript, do look for doodlings by bored students. Always delicious, and sometimes malicious. I was pleased to come across these in a manuscript of Aquinas' commentary on Aristotle.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 12:53 AM  
Nice print! As I have not seen the book, I cannot comment on its age. The engraving you posted seems - to my eye - definitely older. Copperplate prints came in during the 16th century (after the wood-cuts) and more or less went out of fashion in the late 18th century, other printing techniques being cheaper. Plus, this sort of Copperplate scipt (and in Latin to boot!) can be found in many books of the 17th and 18th centuries. Later, the script and the writing of Latin poetry went out of fashion,too.
commented by Anonymous Hermann Hayn, 4:19 AM  
Perhaps the engravings themselves are older, but the codex itself didn't look all that old, definitely not 16th century. The title on the cover of the book was actually in (relatively normal) English as well.
commented by Blogger Lauren, 8:34 AM  
May we post these over at TheCatholicLibrary.org?
commented by Blogger GFvonB, 8:54 AM  
Thank you for this. It's fantastic!
commented by Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P., 1:53 PM  
Well, some prints have been used for centuries (often with widely differing captions or titles). Recycling of copperplates did, of course, happen. They could be used for a long time, until the plates had to be melted up. There was, however, a slight problem with storage ... A friend of mine writes his thesis on the history of printing since the 1800s. Thus he started collecting books from printers' schools. In many of these, he found notes, how many (metric) tons of leaden slugs a printing shop of a given size needed to store, simply in order to remain in business, being able to print. A printers' had to operate on ground level - on very solid ground!
commented by Anonymous Hermann Hayn, 2:05 PM  
Ooh... scholastic manuscript... wooden boards... continue paroxysms of delight ad lib...
commented by Blogger Boeciana, 4:07 PM  

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