Dante and Beatrice from BL YT 36, f. 148
Detail of a miniature of Dante and Beatrice before Thomas Aquinas, who presents the two to Dominic and Francis, both standing on winged cherubim, in illustration of Paradiso, Canto XI. Image taken from f. 148 of Divina Commedia (index Divine Comedy). Written in Italian.
Henry Yates Thompson (1838-1928) was a British collector and philanthropist who assembled this remarkable collection over his lifetime. The collection is now housed at the British Library in London.
Henry Yates Thompson was born into a wealthy family in 1838. Thompson began collecting manuscripts and other items in the 1870s. His collection quickly gained recognition for its exceptional quality and breadth. He had a keen eye for illuminated manuscripts, which are manuscripts decorated with intricate illustrations and calligraphy. The collection has a particular emphasis on medieval manuscripts.
The Divine Comedy is a poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval worldview as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century.