'Emblemes' and 'Hieroglyphikes
of the life of Man'
[Hieroglyphikes of the life of Man]
This remarkable selection of
engravings was published for poet and royalist, Francis Quarles (1592- 1644), only two or
so decades after the death of Shakespeare. 'Emhlemes', published in 1635, proved
phenomenally successful and ran into several editions. The plates were largely the work of
William Marshall with some by W.Simpson , Robert Vaughan and I.Payne. The originality of
the drawings is evident in their startling and sometimes surreal images. The last three
books were borrowed , with the plates reversed , from the Jesuit Hermann Hugo's 1 Pia
Desideris Emblematis, Elegiis et Affectibus."
The collection as a whole displays a wide range of iconography which
reflects Quarles' pressing metaphysical and religious ideas. He quickly followed up his
success with the similar 'Hicroglyphikes of the Life of Man' ( 1638 ), illustrated by
Marshall and dedicated to his patroness , the Countess of Dorset who shared Quarles'
The Bosch-like relentlessness of many of the images accurately promoted
Quarles' view that man's earthly existence is a wretched business. There is a
Shakespearean breadth of engagement with these themes and the strongest sense of how
religious ideas could be construed through secular life.
In his dedication of 'Emblemes' to his great friend, Edward Benlowes,
Quarles wrote colourfully about his intentions:
Let Dorrs delight to immerd themselves in dung, whilst Eagles scorn so
poor a Game as Flies. Sir, you have Art and Candour; let the one judge, let the
These unique works of art are offered in their original state in this
exclusive offer. Each print is individually priced. Plate size, for each
print, is approximately 10 x 6.5cm.