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Curious Inspiration

Posted in books, Embroidery, History with tags , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2013 by suetortoise

I promised to write more about the story behind my embroidered picture Curis Tabescimus Omnes.

Curis Tabescimus Omnes unframed

I know I’d heard of “Emblem Books” as one of the many influences on Elizabethan and Stuart embroidery design, along with herbals and bestiaries. I’d never researched them further, having assumed that Emblem Books were books of heraldry and coats of arms. A couple of years ago, I was doing a web search for some Latin tag that had come up in my reading. I don’t recall which scrap of Latin it was now, because I got totally distracted. I found myself on the contents page of an online copy of an emblem book, Geffrey Whitney’s book A Choice of Emblems from 1586. Fascinated, I browsed some of the pictures and soon came across this one

miniwhitney

Such a strange picture. What was going on? Who was the reclining figure in the foreground? Who was falling into the volcano? Who was the person in the toga, watching and not apparently trying to help? The accompanying verse explained a little, but left me with even more questions.

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