Aristotle advising a king on recording deeds, 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.
A constant concern of the ruler is memory or history. In this section of the book, 'Aristotle' gives advice on records of royal deeds and compilation of annals. The picture shows him advising the king much as a modern lawyer or life-coach might speak to a business client. The styles of individual artists who worked on the manuscript vary, this one painting more heavily proportioned figures than the artists of the first pages of the book.