Manuscript: MS M.81
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Morgan Library, MS M.81
(The Worksop Bestiary)

Produced: England, c 1185

Language: Latin


Binding: 19th-century English green morocco
Media: Vellum
Script: Continental protogothic book script

Folios: 120  Height: 21.5 cm   Width: 15.5 cm

Manuscript type: Bestiary

Location: Morgan Library, New York, New York, United States

Family: First; Transitional


Source: Morgan Library: Picturing Natural History: Bestiary | Copyright 2003 Morgan Library | Folio 31v


Bestiary, written and illuminated in England, possibly in Lincoln or York, before 1187. Given in 1187 by Philip, Canon of Lincoln to the Augustinian Priory of Radford, now called Worksop.

The texts include: De forma mundi and De creatione mundi, two chapters from the De imagine mundi (f.2r); De etatibus mundi (f.2v); Genesis II, 1-17 (f.3r-4r); extracts from Isidore of Seville, the general part of the De pecoribus et iumentis. (f.4v-5r); Isidore, De avibus (f.5r-6r); Sermo qualiter peccator deo placere valeat (f.6v-7v); On Animals. Incipit liber de naturis bestiarum et earum significationibus (f.8r-48r); Of Birds. Incipit des naturis volucrum (f.48r-68v); Of Fishes. Incipit de naturis piscium (f69r-76v); Isidore, De aquis. De diversitate aquarum. (f.77r-77v); Of Reptiles. De naturis serpentium (f.78r-89r); Of worms. De vermibus (f.89r-90v); De naturis rerum (f.90v-101v); De gradibus etatis (f.101v-104v); Incipit de arboribus et de herbis (f.105r-112r); Isidore, De Terra (f.112r-117v); Isidore, De orbe (f.112v); Isidore, De Asia (f.113r); Isidore, De Europa

(f.115V); Isidore, De Affrica, (f.117r); Sermo de beato Ioseph, ascribed to St. Augustine (f.118r-120v).

The text of the Bestiary is illustrated by 106 rectangular or circular miniatures of varying sizes. There is generally a gold background surrounded by a banded border in red, yellow, green, or blue; the animals depicted, however, commonly extend beyond the limits of the frame. Closely related to this manuscript are a slighty later bestiary in St Petersburg (Russian National Library Q.v.V.1), and British Library Royal MS 12 C.xix.

M.R. James notes that, in addition to the Bestiary proper, the text contains additional features peculiar to this manuscript and to British Library Royal MS 12 C.xix:

1. Extracts from the De imagine mundi, Genesis, St. Isidore's De pecoribus et iumentis and De Avibus are prefixed, as well as an added sermon, irrelevant to the Bestiary.

2. Classification into Beasts, Birds, Fish, etc.

3. Chapters are included from the Second Family of manuscripts.

4. Three sections occur which are found nowhere else in the Bestiaries: St. Isidore's De aquis, De terra, and a sermon on Joseph ascribed to St. Augustine.

Additional description

Editions and Facsimiles

Digital facsimiles: Morgan Library (Partial)


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