Some illustrations reminiscent of the VM

Here are some illustrations that I’ve stumbled upon recently which deserve mention.

First, there is this part at the top of an unusual 8-meter long scroll titled Les Six Ages du Monde, which if I understand well is an early XVth century French manuscript held in Switzerland. The moon, stars and quick untidy painting are quite reminiscent of the VM (I’m not claiming this is the same author of course, but it does ring a bell, and era-wise it is just in the right bracket, while the vellum looks similar in quality) :


The reference is : Sion/Sitten, Archives de l’Etat du Valais/Staatsarchiv Wallis, S 109, f. recto – Six ages of the World (

Below is part of f86v from the VM :


There exists another copy in Reims of the same scroll, illustrated by the same master (so says e-codices) which looks like this :


and here is the link to it.

So overall, this master and the VM author do share similar influences, but those are probably not specific enough to go much further.

Another illustration that is a little reminiscent of the VM is f40 of MSS Pal.Lat. 1726, but since it is under copyright I can only provide the link here.  It depicts a VM-style naked lady with a crown in a small pond with fishes and birds, and corresponds to the month of March in that manuscript. It is in fact Venus (as mentioned here) and the manuscript is Fulgentius megaforalis.

Again, I’m not claiming this is the same author as that of the VM, other illustrations nearby make that clear (a very dissimilar sun in particular), but it does have similarities in that the VM also has two fishes for march on f70v and they seem to be of the same species (shape, number of fins, type of head).

A third element that I’m happy to have found recently, and by chance, is a vellum repair that looks quite similar to those of the VM. Consider for instance this part of f82v, one sees that the holes are not crisp, as if some tension on a still fresh vellum had been applied :


For some time I couldn’t find manuscripts that had the same type of repair, either the sewing thread was still there hiding it, or it had been too closely sewn and just looked different.

But the bottom right corner of the final folio f68v of Pal. Lat. 1158 here does have some similarities. Also, the shape and thickness of the bottom of that manuscript’s f66v is typical VM style vellum, I would think. Alas, according to this, we’re looking at a XIIth century vellum here! So that type of sewing repair, and of folio cutting, isn’t specific at all to the VM nor its era since it existed centuries earlier. On the other hand, since most XVth century manuscripts have much better-looking repairs, it might be that the VM vellum is of a fairly artisanal origin.

Hopefully some DNA testing will be done on the VM in the nearby future, and compared to other sources. Some genetic variants may well help pinpoint a specific type of cattle, or at least a not too rough geographical origin.

[Please note : as a policy on this blog I shall not let in all comments, only a select few that I find interesting.]



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