Leiden Special Collections Blog

Love and kinship bound together

Love and kinship bound together

Book of friends with written contributions by Adolphus Vorstius, Scaliger, Erpenius and Heinsius + illustrations by Abraham Bloemaert and Paulus Moreelse.

My beloved Buchell, there is no one I will love as much, so closely connected to me by bonds of love and kinship. By means of this page, written with these few letters drawn by my pen or my hand, my mind, which is completely devoted to you, cannot be measured. On September 3rd 1617 this token of ‘devotion and ardent love’ was written – in Latin – by Adolphus Vorstius (1597-1663), a nineteen year old Leiden student, in the album amicorum of his uncle Aernout van Buchell (1565-1641). He also added a quotation from the Hebrew Bible, a proverb in Arabic and a line in Greek from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. This talented son of the Leiden medical professor Everhardus Vorstius began studying Greek at the age of fourteen and subsequently studied Oriental languages and botany. His uncle, less versed in Hebrew and Arabic, had those sentences translated into Latin on a notelet which he then fixed to the opposite page (fol. 56v).

Aernout van Buchell, also known as Arnoldus Buchelius, had started his first ‘book of friends’ during his student days. In 1590 he began a second album that is now held by Leiden University Library at shelfmark LTK 902. In addition to family members like Adolphus Vorstius, professors such as Scaliger, Erpenius and Heinsius contributed scholarly inscriptions and some artist friends, among them Abraham Bloemaert and Paulus Moreelse, added beautiful drawings. A couple of aristocratic friends had their brightly-coloured coats of arms depicted. After his studies Buchelius became a lawyer, but unhindered by financial worries due to an advantageous marriage he was able to devote the rest of his life to his favourite pursuit, the study of national antiquities. He was particularly interested in genealogy and heraldry. He devoted much of his time to copying headstones, epitaphs and stained-glass windows in churches and cloisters in the Low Countries and abroad, and also searched for Roman relics in our regions.

He compiled his data in a number of manuscripts, yet none of these was published during his lifetime. In recent years, Buchelius has attracted a great deal of attention. Two dissertations and several articles have been devoted to him and most of his handwritten legacy has been made available online. Recently an online edition, prepared by the Buchelius expert Kees Smit, of the Leiden album as well as a digital facsimile of the entire manuscript has been included in our Digital Collections.

Post by Ernst-Jan Munnik, staff member Special Collections Services.

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