British Library, Additional MS 11390
(Der Naturen Bloeme)


Produced: Netherlands, c. 1300 - c.1325
Location: British Library, London, England, UK
Type: Encyclopedia
Language: Dutch
Folios: 94
Author: Jacob van Maerlant
Illustrated: Yes
Media: Vellum
Script: Gothic
Dimensions: Height: 26 cm Width: 19 cm
Folio 3v


The Der Naturen Bloeme of Jacob van Maerlant, in thirteen books, and illustrated with numerous curious drawings.

The manuscript features one of the eleven extant copies of the Middle Dutch Der naturen bloeme (The Flower of Nature): a natural encyclopedia and bestiary in verse, divided into thirteen books. Der naturen bloeme was written around 1270 by the Flemish poet Jacob van Maerlant (b. c. 1200, d. c. 1272) at the request of his patron, the nobleman Nicolaas van Cats. The latter requested to have a book compiling all the available knowledge about the natural world. For his project, Van Maerlant used De natura rerum by the theologian Thomas of Cantimpré (b. c. 1201, d. c. 1270), but heavily adapted the work.

This is the manuscript copy designated Lo.

ff. 1r-94v: Jacob van Maerlant, Der naturen bloeme, 'Der naturen bloeme . Natura rerum . beestiarius . hier sijn in dertiene boeken'

Numerous miniatures (571), accompanied by captions, drawn with brown ink, most with colors. The miniatures illustrate the thirteen books (concerning mankind, quadrupeds, birds, sea creatures, fish, poisonous snakes, insects and crawling animals, common trees, spice trees, medicinal herbs, wells, gemstones, and metals), although the illustrations end in the eleventh book. Van der Voort, Dat seste boec van serpenten: een onderzoek naar en een uitgave van boek VI van Jacob van Maerlants Der naturen bloeme, (2003), pp. 80-84, notes that the miniatures are stylistically different from those in other copies of Der naturen bloeme, and speculates that they may have been executed by the manuscript's scribe.

[adapted in part from the British Library description]

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