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Michael van Meer. Album Amicorum / Stam Boek (c.1614-1630). This exquisite manuscript of watercolour paintings gives a fascinating glimpse into the 17th century. Little is known of van Meer other than that he was a lieutenant in Hamburg who died on 13th October 1653. He clearly spent some time in London early in the century, as this album has numerous contemporary images of people and scenes in the capital city. The album amicorum (book of friends) is a kind of autograph book collected by early modern students or scholars from Germany or the Low Countries, as they moved about from university to university. A typical page will have a tag or set of verses in Latin or Greek (or, sometimes, Hebrew) at the top, and below, a formal greeting in Latin to the owner of the album. Perhaps as part of the greeting there will be a heraldic shield of the signator or a small picture, often emblematic in nature, and these are sometimes coloured. This particular album bears the signatures of many celebrities: royalty, soldiers, statesmen and artists. It came to the Library as part of the Laing Bequest in 1878.