Londra, British Library, ms. Egerton 2020, f. 162v, Citrollo

An Example of Comparison

The comparison between the two images depicted here reveals the close bond that exists between them and ultimately between the two manuscripts that contained the illuminations.

The subject depicted in the two herbals is the same, even though the Roccabonella manuscript is younger than the Egerton. The stems of the two plants present the same curvy tendency: starting from the right side of the page they run across to the left margin and then loop back to the right.

Note also how the same elements of the plant are drawn in the same position: there are three large leaves on alternating sides of the stem, then there is a cucumber and, lastly, three vivid yellow flowers.

It is important to note that the older Egerton illumination reveals an accentuated naturalism, which is mitigated in the Roccabonella. In the first image colour is used in a very realistic way, whereas in the second it is more schematic and flat. This difference in the use of colours can be explained supposing that the illuminator of the Egerton had the plant available and he copied it from the live specimen, whereas the Roccabonella illuminator copied his work directly from the Egerton, losing those features of naturalism and truthfulness that distinguish the older manuscript.

Venezia, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Cod. Lat. VI 59, f. 42r, Citrulus