Author Portrait Held by Masked Actors; Cupboard of Masks
From Six Comedies by Terence
Saint Albans, England, mid-12th century
Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Auct. F. 2. 13
Hundreds of medieval copies of the plays of the Roman playwright Terence survive, a number of them illustrated. His buffoonish humor, rapid dialogue and tales of trickery and disguise held great appeal to medieval readers. Line drawing was the favored technique for illustrating the plays, and this copy represents one of the finest. Its author portrait, with a bust inside a classical roundel, conveys the ancient pedigree of both the text and its tradition of illustration.