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The Trevelyon Miscellany

Thomas Trevelyon’s hand-drawn 1608 miscellany depicts a wide array of subjects, such as English and Scottish rulers, biblical stories, and embroidery patterns.

These pages are among 290 double-sided folios in a bulky manuscript created in 1608 by Thomas Trevelyon, of whom little is known. The diverse images in Trevelyon’s unusual book serve today as a remarkable visual record, making it one of the items at the Folger for which photographs are most often requested.

Among the enormous variety of subjects covered in Trevelyon’s work are the kings and queens of Scotland and England; custom and folk wisdom; and designs that include calendars, alphabets and numbers, leaf and flower motifs, and more abstract ornamentation, including embroidery patterns. Other pages depict the relative sizes of the sun, the planets, and the earth; theologians, reformers, and the Lord Mayors of London; pagan, Jewish, and Christian heroes; the nine muses; and the seven deadly sins, among many other topics.

Astonishingly, this sprawling work is one of two by Trevelyon. Eight years after creating it at about the age of 60, he produced a second manuscript containing many of the same images; that work is now in the collection of the Wormsley Library in England.

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