Inscription of Philip the Fair, Duke of Burgundy and Brabant. From the end-papers of Virgil's Aeneid (Louvain, 1476)

An inscription of Philip IV, the Fair or Handsome, Duke of Burgundy (1478-1506) at the end of a 15th-century edition of Virgil. Son of the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy, Philip succeeded to his mother's dominions in the Low Countries before marrying Joan, the daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. When Isabella died in 1502 Joan assumed the throne of Castile, with Ferdinand acting as regent due to the mental imbalance that led to her becoming known as "Joan the Mad". Philip was jealous of his father-in-law's control of Castile and enforced his claim in 1506, forcing Ferdinand to withdraw to Aragon. He then took control as Philip I, although he enjoyed his success for less than a month, being struck down by a sudden fever. Joan's intense melancholia was demonstrated by her refusal to part with his embalmed body. By asserting his claim and fathering an heir (Charles I of Spain, later Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) Philip had, however, founded the Habsburg dynasty in Spain.

Bequest of John Newcome.