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Sylva Anachoretica Ægypti Et Palæstinæ. Figuris æneis Et Brevibus Vitarum Elogiis Expressa. Abrahamo Blommaert Inventore. BoetioA Bolswert Sculptore.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Antverpiæ,: Ex Typographiâ Henrici Ærtssii, Sumptibus Auctoris., M.DC.XIX.

Physical Description

[4], 51, [1] f.: [53] illus.; 230 mm (Quarto).


[T.p.; extract from St. Jerome; frontis.; dedic.; extracts from St. Jerome and St. Basil] - [T.pl.. of 'Sacra Eremus Ascetarum'; text, with illus.] - [Extract from St. Ambrose] - [T.pl. of 'Sacra Eremus Ascetriarum'; text, with illus.].

Responsibility Note

Both part-titles are signed as drawn by Bloemaert and engraved and printed by Bolswert; twelve plates are signed as engraved by Bolswert. The work is dedicated to Antonius De Winghe by 'I.R. S. I.' This acronym may have been intended for 'H.R. S.I.', i.e. Heribertus Rosweydus, Societatis Iesu (the dedication of the Dutch version is also signed 'H.R.').


F.W.H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts, c. 1450 - 1700 (1949-).

Summary Note

The four unnumbered leaves consist of six pages of text and one full-page image with a blank verso. (This image is of hermits in a wilderness, and is captioned with a Latin translation of a verse from Psalm 101.) The fifty-two following leaves (fifty-one numbered and one unnumbered) consist of two sequences of 25 full-page images of male and female ascetics, each sequence preceded by its own title-plate. Each image is printed on the recto of a leaf, while its verso carries the leaf number and the text relating to the next, facing image. The first sequence comprises its title page ('Sacra Eremus Ascetarum') and 25 imaginary portraits (of Christ and 24 male saints); the second sequence comprises its title page ('Sacra Eremus Ascetriarum') and 25 imaginary portraits of female saints. The plates were reprinted in the same year to accompany texts in Dutch ('t Bosch der Eremyten ende Eremytinnen van Aegypten ende Palestinen) and French (Forest des hermits et des hermitesses d'Egypte et de la Palestine). In the late eighteenth century there was a renewal of interest in hermits and hermitages. The British royal collection includes three drawings by Princess Charlotte copied from three plates of this book.


The front pastedown carries an 18th-century book-plate, of 'CP' (or 'PC'?). Recorded in Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Copy Note

Inscribed in ink on the rear pastedown, '50 sans les titres'. A small tear in the Dedication has been repaired and the affected text rewritten by hand in ink. There is a small hole in leaf 3, and leaf 33 has a small stain.

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf; gilt-tooled spine and red morocco spine-label, lettered, 'Sylva Anach Ægypt Et Palæsti'.


Anchorites - Ascetics - Hermits - Egypt - Palestine - History
Saints - Christian art and symbolism - Iconography
Biography - Devotional images - Belgium - 17th century
Pictorial works - Belgium - 17th century