Whitney, Geoffrey (c. 1548 - c. 1601)

The badge, motto and autograph of Geoffrey Whitney. The badge, motto and autograph of Geoffrey Whitney.

Geoffrey Whitney (c. 1548 – c. 1601) was an English scholar and compiler of an emblem book published in Leiden, The Netherlands in 1586. Whitney was born near Nantwich (Cheshire, England). His father is believed to be Sir Robert Whitney. Geoffrey Whitney went to Magdalene College, Cambridge University and later Oxford University.

In 1585/6 he went to study at the newly founded University of Leiden. He is believed to have died in c. 1612 in England. While in Leiden he helped publish A Choice of Emblemes and Other Devises (Leiden: Plantijn, 1586; see also Franciscus Raphelengius). Whitney’s book was not initially designed to be an embroidery pattern book, but the illustrations quickly became popular and were used in various late sixteenth and seventeenth century embroideries.


  • GREEN, Henry (ed), Whitney’s "Choice of Emblemes", London: Lovel, Reeve & Co. 
  • SILCOX, Mary V. (2008). 'Strangely familiar: Emblems in early modern England,' in: Ostovich, Helen, Mary V. Silcox and Graham Roebuck, The Mysterious and the Foreign in Early Modern England, Newark: University of Delaware, pp. 281-297.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 1st July 2016).


Last modified on Friday, 05 May 2017 09:19