Trevelyon Miscellany

Trevelyon Miscellany – Folger Shakespeare Library – MS V. b. 232 – Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington D. C., USA)

London (United Kindgom) — 1608

From a biblical chronology to British monarchs to nearly 100 pages of embroidery designs, a sumptuous anthology serves as a panopticon of everyday life in the 16th century

  1. Thomas Trevelyon (b. ca. 1548) was an embroidery pattern maker and author of two miscellanies

  2. His work addresses various historical, religious, social, and practical themes focused on Britain

  3. The manuscript is adorned by many handwritten notes and drawings, many of them colored

Trevelyon Miscellany

MS V. b. 232 Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington D. C., USA)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Trevelyon Miscellany

The Trevelyon Miscellany is a manuscript miscellany covering topics spanning religious, historical, social, and practical themes adapted from various sources. It is named after Thomas Trevelyon, who compiled the work in London in 1608 and furnished it with various handwritten notes and drawings, many of them hand colored. These drawings were largely modelled on woodcuts and engravings and the manuscript is best known for its embroidery patterns, which comprise nearly 100 pages. The text is divided into five parts: historical and practical information; a Biblical chronology and genealogy, a list of British monarchs; Biblical and secular verses and parables; patterns for embroidery and woodwork; a list of the sheriffs and mayors of London.

Trevelyon Miscellany

Originating centuries after the invention of the printing press, this early-17th century manuscript is a rare example of a handwritten and illustrated codex from the Early Modern Period. Also known as the Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232, the Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608 is the second of three manuscript miscellanies created by Thomas Trevelyon and is divided into three parts. It is essentially a compendium of information spanning information relevant to England and London in particular as well as Christendom more broadly but is most highly valued as an elaborate pattern book.

Miscelanious Contents

Part 1 consists of historical and practical information including a timeline, calendar, astronomical diagrams and other computational tables as well as a genealogy of William the Conqueror’s descendants and geographic information. A biblical chronology and genealogy as well as a list of British kings and queens is presented in Part 2 while Part 3 contains passages and lists from the Bible complete with illustrations. The most famous section of the manuscript is Part 5, consisting of patterns for embroidery, needlework, woodwork, etc. Many of these patterns are clearly rooted in artistic traditions going back as far as the Hiberno-Saxon art from the Early Middle Ages, the intricate interlace patterns in particular. Finally, Part 5 lists the sheriffs and mayors of London between the years 1190 and 1601.

A Mysterious Author

Thomas Trevelyon (b. ca. 1548) was a designer of embroidery patterns believed to be active in London between the years 1603 and 1616, the respective dates for the first and third editions. Interestingly, he spelled his surname differently in the various editions: “Trevelyon” in the Folger manuscript and “Trevilian” in the Wormsley Great Book. Almost nothing is known about the life of Thomas Trevelyon: not even the date of his death is established and what was once believed to be a self-portrait in the manuscript is actually a stock figure. However, this is consistent with the rest of the illustrations from Trevelyon’s hand, many of which are based on published woodcuts and copperplates.


Alternative Titles
Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608

Available facsimile editions:
Trevelyon Miscellany – Folger Shakespeare Library – MS V. b. 232 – Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington D. C., USA)
Folger Shakespeare Library – Washington D. C., 2007
Limited Edition: 950 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608

Folger Shakespeare Library – Washington D. C., 2007

Publisher: Folger Shakespeare Library – Washington D. C., 2007
Limited Edition: 950 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Heather Wolfe
Language: English
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Facsimile and commentary are housed in one volume in this edition, with the commentary printed in a separate section. Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The pages are represented on a larger white background. The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
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