Aristotle advising a king on virtue, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Believed in the middle ages to be Aristotle's letter to Alexander the Great, 'About the Secrets of Secrets' concerns government and is a Latin translation of an Arabic work. A London scribe and King's Clerk, Walter of Milemete, and a team of artists probably made this richly decorated copy in 1326-1327. Milemete intended it to accompany his own treatise on royal virtues for presentation to Edward III. The 'Secrets' was owned by the Earls of Leicester, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
One of dozens of pages decorated with pictures, this one follows a set format of picture, border with figures and royal heraldry. In the picture, Aristotle appears at the side. His advice that virtue is the source of all good is represented with a scene of a king speaking to a delegation of noblemen. The figure of a nobleman in the border between the heraldic shields with royal arms complements the scene.