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'Geoffroy de Donjon de Duisson' from volume "Heads of Illustrious Men &c."

volume (60.5 x 43 x 5 cms) inscr. b.c. in ink "GEOFROY DE DUISSON"; inscr. b.r. in ink "m 1194 [lower half of letters cut away]"; inscr. in ribbon garland "CORDIUM OPUMQUE CRYSOMAGNES" CRE PATIGNY, Joseph; (French; fl. 1660-1670) AFTER RAINALDI, Domenico; (Italian; 1619-1698) This volume is part of William Hunter's original bequest. Of its 102 portraits, inserted onto 60 pages, 89 are from two sets of portraits of Grand Masters of the Order of St. John with many of the sitters duplicated. This print from the second set belongs to one of several 17th century sets based on 16th century prototype, engraved with the contemporary fashion for portraits of famous historical figures in mind. Distinct to this set are the emblematic images in the corners and the double-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire at the top.
The Order of St John was created in Jerusalem to care for the sick. Officially recognised by Pope Pascal II in 1113, it became a military and political force of great power and played a crucial role in the Crusades.
French Knight Geoffroy de Donjon de Duisson served as 11th Grand Master of the Order from 1193-1202. His portrait, like most Grand Masters portraits prior to 1450, was probably invented although some likenesses were found on coins.