Manuscript emblem book by Guilielmus Hesius
The Antwerp Jesuit Guilielmus Hesius (Willem van Hees, 1601-1690) was a key figure in the culture of the Low Countries in the late seventeenth century. He was one of the last representatives of the uomo universale type, like Leonardo da Vinci or Athanasius Kircher. He was active as an architect, mathematician and astronomer, as administrator of several departments of his order, and also as a poet and draughtsman.
Emblemata or emblem books were a very very popular genre in the seventeenth century. They consist of text and images, a combination of a motto, an allegorical drawing and a poem that invites the reader to reflect. In the case of Hesius' emblem book, all subjects revolve around the theme of “Faith, Hope and Love”. Handwritten emblem books are extremely rare: most were distributed as printed books, and often became very popular. Hesius also had his emblem book printed in 1636, twelve years after he had started his manuscript.
The History of the Bishops of Antwerp by Petrus Henricus Goos
Like Hesius, Peter Henricus Goos (+ 1725) was a clergyman. He was attached to the Cathedral of Our Lady as a canon, and at the end of the seventeenth century began a manuscript on the history of the city and the diocese of Antwerp, titled Encronologium episcoporum, decanorum et canonicorum Cathedralis Basilicae Marianae Antverpiensis. With its exceptional size (58 by 44 cm in two volumes), hand-drawn illustrations and coloured maps, it is an impressive manuscript. The Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library was able to acquire this remarkable work in 2017 thanks to the mediation of Bernaerts Auctioneers and the financial support of the Maria-Elisabeth Belpaire Foundation.