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Thirty-three large allegorical or emblematic drawings, all except the last on religious or moral subjects, written in about 1520-1530 at Brussels by Gielis van den Hecke

MS. Douce 373
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

Subjects include 'Reformatio languentis anime', 'Speculum Timoris', ' Scutum Fidei', 'Ecce Homo', ' Stella Maris', 'Ecclesia' and the like, in the style of the early block books: all with Latin poems descriptive of the drawings, and nearly all with Dutch poems in addition. The numerous Latin sentences in the drawings are in red, blue, or black.

The last drawing (fol. xxxii) is a glorification of Brussels, her religious houses and great men: the corresponding verses point out that seven is a dominant number there.

From three leaves of parchment prefixed, which bear a long Latin and a long Dutch poem, it is clear that the drawings are by Gielis van den Hecke (Aegidius Heckius), who died in August 1538, and were designed for the use of the Priory van Zeven Bronen (Seven Borren, Septem Fontium) at Brussels: his nephew Joos (Judocus) van den Hecke wrote these two poems, and presented the whole to that house. A cutting from an English bookseller's catalogue (no. 548) shows that the volume once had 51 engravings at the end.

'Reverendo Domino Joanni Antonio Steemans ad 7tem Fontes canonico regulari ... à Josepho 2do suppresso 13 Junii 1784.'.


  • Creation: written in about 1520-1530 at Brussels by Gielis van den Hecke


38 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • Latin
  • Dutch; Flemish


MS. Douce 373

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. IV, no 21948

Our best descriptions for medieval items in this collection are in Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries under MSS. Douce.

Physical Facet

On paper, with pen-and-ink drawings


16 3/4 × 11 3/4 in.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom