Emblem Books

Emblems of love

Philip Ayres, Emblems of Love

London: Printed for J. Wren, [1683?]

N7740 .A82

Illustration and text (in Latin, English, Italian, and French).

Emblematic Engraving

Emblem books are collections of illustrations, usually allegorical in nature, accompanied by a moralizing text, often in verse and often in a number of different languages. In most other kinds of book, the illustrations were seen as subordinate to the text, but in emblem books the illustrations play an equal, if not leading, role. This may explain why the publisher of this emblem book, one John Wren, opted to use engraving, a technique usually reserved for the illustrations alone, to produce the entire text as well.

The author of this emblem book was Philip Ayres (1638-1712), who authored a wide variety of works while serving as tutor to the wealthy Drake family in Buckinghamshire, England. Ayres's output included histories, romances, and essays, though he is best known today for his poetry.