Odds and quads - 19 September 2013

St John’s College, Cambridge was established by charter in 1511 through the generosity of Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509)

September 19, 2013

Source: Paul Everest

One of the most influential women in medieval England, she gave birth to the future Henry VII at the age of 13, played an important role in bringing the Tudors to power and used her wealth to promote religion and learning. Her personal Book of Hours (above, right), a beautifully illuminated prayer book, forms part of the college’s Special Collections. The illustrations are typical of the so-called Fastolf Master, who worked in Rouen, France in the first half of the 15th century.

Also held by the college is a good deal of material relating to Roger Ascham (1515-68), a long-term fellow who acted as tutor to Princess Elizabeth and is said to have enjoyed many flirtations with her ladies-in-waiting. The frontispiece (above, left) is taken from a 1703 edition of Ascham’s letters.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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