- Museum number
Album bound in an early XVIIIc English binding, in red Morocco with gold tooling and gilt ruling on the front and back covers and on the ribbed spine, containing 196 drawn leaves (including a titlepage outline with a cartouche) with mainly botanical drawings after Heinrich Füllmaurer and Albrecht Meyer, also medical, surgical, allegorical, mythological and biblical subjects and compositions; drawings on the recto, verso or usually both sides; also 14 blank leaves and another with leaf samples pasted in; medical subjects include cataract removal, Caesarian birth and still-birth, dental work, hernia removal (?), syringing, treatment of snake-bites; allegorical representations include Faith, Hope and Charity, the Four Elements, Death, and planets; other representations include saints, Adam and Eve, classical gods, historical figures (such as Avicenna, Dioscorides and Hippocrates); several compositions showing chemical production and distillation (including the production of balsamic oil); astronomical instruments and charts; anatomical and skeletal studies, and one of Siamese twins; also the Tree of Human Life and other subjects. c.1560 (possibly Venice)
Watercolour over pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 429 millimetres
Width: 289 millimetres (covers)
- Curator's comments
- Written on the flyleaf in the handwriting of Sir Hans Sloane: 'The painters of this book were Henricus Kullmaurer & Albertus Melier as may be seen by their pictures in the last page of Fuchsius's Historia Stirpium printed at Basil 1542 in fol. etc., of which these are the originals draughts. The plants were graved in that book by Vitus Rudolphus Spreckle.' This is followed by a note of the contents added later by Sloane: 'Many pictures of Hippocrates &c the ancient physicians, of the planets, operations in surgery &c in colours with some anatomicall figures & Destilling.'
The leaves contain two different sequences of folio numbers written on the rectos only, in the top right corner (note that many of the folios are drawn on both sides). The original sequence is in bold numerals, but is no longer in the original order as the folios were rebound in a new (and illogical) order at some later stage. The second set of numbers is written underneath the first, and seems from the writing to date c.1700. It corresponds to the current sequence of folios, and includes a number of blank sheets which were originally left unnumbered. The registration number sequence (1928,0310.94.1-205, the numbers are not stamped on the leaves themselves) follows the second c.1700 foliation of the leaves of the album. The blank leaves are the modern folios 94, 95, 107, 108, 120, 121, 151, 155, and 206. The original titles are at the top of the folios, in capital letters and in Italian with some Latin. To these have been added in a later English hand (perhaps by a secretary of Sloane or by whomever he acquired the album from) new identifications of the plants (only) in Latin and English.
The rebinding prevents a proper understanding of the original order of the watercolours, which were evidently all drawn by the same artist on the same paper and the same time. Hence a reconstruction of the original sequence is essential to make any further progress.
Despite Sloane's belief that these are the original drawings used for the woodcut illustrations in Fuchs' herbal, they are obviously copied from that book. The original drawings of the plants were made by Füllmaurer and Meyer; the title of the book is Leonhart Fuchs, 'De Historia Stirpium commentarii insignes', Basle, 1542, and the woocuts were cut by Vitus Rudolf Speckle. The non-botanical drawings are evidently also copied from some other book(s), but their sources have yet to be identified apart from a few (ff.130-33) that come from Andreas Vesalius, 'De humani corporis fabrica', 1543.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: De Historia stirpium commentarii insignes
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The album was transferred in 1928 from the Department of Manuscripts. It was previously Sloane 5281. Written on the flyleaf are earlier Sloane catalogue numbers: Min.60, then 30 and finally 88 (the first two are struck through). There are also two annotations by XIXc librarians pointing out that this volume is Ms.1738 in Ayscough's Sloane catalogue, where it was mistakenly described as a printed book, and that it was subsequently given the Add.Ms. number 5281.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: SL,5281