The Trevelyon Miscellany: Pesonifications

Word & Image:
The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608

on exhibit January 23 - May 22, 2004

Personifications

Personified abstractions such as the Virtues and the Seven Deadly Sins were part of a long visual tradition inherited by Trevelyon and his contemporaries. These figures and their customary attributes were familiar to all, appearing on title pages, as single woodcuts and engravings, in wall paintings, and on tapestries. Trevelyon's personifications were derived from engravings by Marten de Vos, Philippe Galle, and Hans Sebald Beham.

Thomas Trevelyon, Miscellany, fol. 151r (Pride)

Thomas Trevelyon
Miscellany, fol. 151r
(Pride)

The moral precepts implicit in images of the Seven Deadly sins were instantly recognizable.

The peacock, known for its pride and vanity, almost always accompanied the figure of Pride, whose mirror also symbolized the dangers of vanity.

Frequently shown with a rider falling from it, the horse was a reminder that "Pride" (as the accompanying Biblical texts remind us) "goeth before destruction."

The nine Muses were the daughters of Jupiter,
"callede muse, of the Greeke worde Myin,
which signifyeth to instruct in honest and good learning."

Euterpe, muse of music, is surrounded by wind instruments. Her name means "to delight,"
which she does with "swett sounds and Mellodye. . . ."

Thomas Trevelyon, Miscellany, fol. 148r (Euterpe, Muse of Music)

Thomas Trevelyon
Miscellany, fol. 148r
(Euterpe, Muse of Music)

Thomas Trevelyon, Miscellany, fol. 158r (The Seaven Liberall Sciences)

Thomas Trevelyon
Miscellany, fol. 158r
("The Seaven Liberall Sciences")

Thomas Trevelyon, Miscellany, fol. 158v (The Seaven Liberall Sciences)

Thomas Trevelyon
Miscellany, fol. 158v
("The Seaven Liberall Sciences")

The objects that accompany the figures representing the Seven Liberal Arts, or Sciences, are explained by the text below them. Grammar, for instance, who "teacheth men to speake aptlye," carries a tablet containing the alphabet, while Arithmetic "teaches men to number" with her tablet. Rhetoric teaches men to embellish their talk, or "to set manye colours upon a littell peice of woode."

Word and Image: The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608
Exhibition Highlights

Thomas Trevelyon: the man and his sources | History and Religion | Calendars and Calculations | Memento Mori | Proverbs | The Old Testament | Lettering | A Quest for Order | Women | Astronomy | Personifications | Embroidery

Exhibition Intro | Visiting the Folger



This page updated March 30, 2004