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Re: VMS -- Botany (f34v) Prunus

Hi Dana,

It seems that the best we can do in comparing the VMS to other documents is
to find a unique exact match in only the VMS and another document and then try to
date the VMS (say + or - 50 years; we wouldn't know who copied whom) around the
item matched in the separate document, assuming that we can accurately date that
other document.

As you know, the standard approach to woodcuts is to place them side by side and examine their structural similarities:-

This is because many herbals of the period were heavily copied, widely circulated and intensively used - and then extensively pirated by derived works: but (I think) it's pretty clear the VMS show no signs of any of these.

So: I (for one) am not really expecting any flow of similarities out of the VMS, only into the VMS.

Do you believe that the botanical pictures in the VMS were done from life? And do you believe that the author - who doesn't show vast representational and drawing skills in the rest of the document - devised the general stylistic idiom of the drawings himself/herself?

For me, I think they're copied: so the key point of finding their predecessor would be to link the VMS solidly into an external tradition and/or mode of representation and/or physical location and/or language/dialect - the author wouldn't have copied stuff unless he/she believed it.

Our dating/placing sandcastle is so far built on hairstyles and humanistic hands, and perhaps glazed barrels (the astrological pictures were likely borrowed from a calendar)... we need more than that, much more than that. :-(

Cheers, ....Nick Pelling....