- Museum number
- Series: Gloria Crocodilus
Title-page to sixty-three emblematic miniatures in roundels; helmeted coat of arms crested with bird legs, crowned with severed bird legs; with inscriptions in gold; from an album of 82 leaves. 1634
Bodycolour heightened with gold, on vellum
- Production date
Height: 83 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 90 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the title-page to 'Gloria Crocodilus', an album of 82 leaves, 63 of which bear miniature emblematic roundels in bodycolour, each inscribed with a title above in Latin. Its connection to the rest of the album is uncertain: it is the only page in vellum, it is not of the same dimensions as the other sheets, the title bears no relation to any of the drawings (an emblem of that title is found in Nicolaus Reusner's 'Emblemata .. partim ethica, et physica: partim verò historica, et hieroglyphica' Frankfurt, 1581) and it is seems of inferior quality to the other drawings. It may therefore be a later addition to the album which would throw open the question of the dating .
This album from the Wrest Park library was bound at an early date in Dutch red morocco leather with elegant gilt tooling, but retains its original vellum cover (1994,1001.10.8) within. The putative dedicatee, Godefridus Crell of Prussia, may have belonged to the distinguished German family of Crell. The coat of arms with the eagle’s leg couped à la quise also indicates a Prussian origin. The album's later provenance is recorded on the protective flyleaves (1994,1001.10.1-5), although it has yet to be established whether all these inscriptions are dependable. The two following leaves are left blank (1994,1001.10.6-7), as well as the leaf behind the title-page (1994,1001.10.9) and the last ten leaves (1994,1001.10.73-82).
The artist responsible for the album has not yet been identified with certainty but it might plausibly be attributed to Jacob Hoefnagel, son of Joris, as the drawings resemble his series of emblematic roundels now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. The Budapest roundels have been rejected by T. Vignau-Wilberg as not being by Hoefnagel in the recent monograph on the artists ('Joris and Jacob Hoefnagel: Art and Science around 1600' Berlin, 2017, cat. F 3); the present album is omitted from the monograph. The Budapest miniatures have been attributed to the Strasbourg painter Friedrich Brentel (1580-1651) and dated to ca. 1630-40 by Joneath Spicer, who noted that several are copies after illustrations in 'Theatrum morum' by Aegidius II Sadeler (Prague, 1608).
Of the 63 drawings, 54 are copied from some of the 100 engravings by Matthäus Merian I in Julius Wilhelm Zincgref's 'Emblematum Ethico-Politicorum Centuria', first published by Joahann Theodor de Bry in Frankfurt, 1619 (L.H. Wüthrich, 'Das druckgraphische Werk von Matthaeus Merian d.Ae', II, Basle, 1972, no. 107, pp. 130-140) For a facsimile and commentated version see: A. Henkel and W. Wiemann, 'Julius Wilhelm Zingref. Hundert Ethisch-politische embleme', Heidelberg, 1986). There were later editions of the book and the emblems were also reused in other publications.
Beside the copies after Merian’s engravings, there are several emblems that bear resemblance to plates in Peter Iselberg, ‘Emblemata Politica’, Nuremberg 1617. Other emblems are partially copied after medals depicted in 'Emblemata anniversaria Academiae Altorfinae : stvdiorvm ivventvtis exercitandorvm cavsa proposita et variorvm orationibvs exposita', published by Christoph Lochner in 1597, in Nuremberg. The engravings by J. Siebmacher depict 64 prize medals with emblematic obverses from 1582-1597; see Andresen.
The last 3 emblems in the album are partially copied after emblems in Claude Paradin, 'Devises heroïques', Lyon 1551.
All emblems refer to a tradition of political emblems on heroic leadership and military success, many found in the Nuremberg Rathaus.
There is a circular gold border around each image and inscriptions in black ink and silver on leaves of thin laid watermarked paper, with thicker laid paper serving as the fly-leaves, with a Wrest Park bookplate pasted inside the front cover.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995-6 Nov-Apr, BM, Recent Acquisitions (no cat.)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number