The First Dutch Emblem Book - Illustrated by Jacques de Gheyn

Heinsius, Daniel ("Theocritus a Ganda") (1580-1655); Jacques de Gheyn II (ca. 1565-1629), artist

Emblemata Amatoria, Iam demum emendata.

Amsterdam: Dirck Pietersz, 1608


Oblong octavo: 15.6 x 19.8 cm. [64] pp. Collation: A-H4

THIRD EDITION. First published in 1601 as “Quaeris quid sit amor?”, this edition includes two additional poems.

Bound in 19th-century vellum. A very nice copy with light spotting. C1 with small hole in blank margin.

Illustrated with an engraved pictorial title and 24 circular emblems by Jacques de Gheyn, each with a Latin motto, a legend in Latin, French or Italian, and a poem in Dutch. The introductory poem and the 8-line stanzas are printed in civilite.

Very rare 1608 edition of the first emblem book in Dutch. The poem, "Aen de ioncvrovwen van Hollandt," is signed "Theocritus a Ganda”(a pseudonym for Heinsius, who was from Ghent.) The 24 engraved circular emblematic illustrations are surrounded by Latin distichs, with those for the first and eighth emblems signed by Hugo Grotius. The last two poems are signed D.H. for Daniel Heinsius.

Daniel Heinsius was one of the greatest humanist scholars of the Dutch renaissance. Born in Ghent and educated at the University of Franeker, by 1598 he was established at Leiden, where he would remain for the rest of his long and distinguished life. Heinsius studied under the great Joseph Scaliger and, in the first decade of the 17th c., distinguished himself at the University of Leiden, where he served as professor of poetics and Greek, before being appointed 4th Librarian of the University. A prolific writer, Heinsius wrote numerous Latin orations, plays, elegies, and a series of important commentaries on classical authors.

Heinsius also championed Dutch as a language worthy of serious literature. In 1601 he published the first emblem book in Dutch “Quaeris quid sit Amor”, which he re-edited, expanded, and published as “Emblemata amatoria.

De Vries at 23; Lanwehr, Low Countries, at 281; Praz at 364