Manuscript

British Library, Harley MS 3244

Codicology

Produced: England, c 1236-1250
Location: British Library, London, England, UK
Type: Miscellany
Family: Second
Language: Latin
Folios: 192
Illustrated: Yes
Media: Parchment
Script: Gothic
Dimensions: Height: 28 cm Width: 16.5 cm
Folio 59r

Description

The bestiary is on folio 36r-71v of the manuscript.

...132 wash drawings, chapter headings in red and inscriptions to the pictures. Although the manuscript is copiously illustrated, no gold has been used and the drawings are only lightly painted in browns, blues and greens. It is bound with a number of religious texts apparently collected together as a type of preaching manual. - [Payne, p.15]

The artist sometimes compressed two or more beast accounts into a single frame, as though to save space. For example, on folio 42v there is a frame containing the lion, leucrota and bonnacon, animals with no attributes in common which normally have separate illustrations. On folio 43r the illustration of the crocodile shows the beast eating a man while a hydrus is escaping through its side. On folio 57r the peacock and the hoopoe are confined together in an angular frame shaped to fit them.

Bestiary. Rubric: Incipit liber de natura bestiarum, incipit: Leo fortissimus bestiarum. Decoration: The text is illustrated by 136 framed tinted drawings of animals in colours. - [adapted from the British Library description]

The difference in the count of images (Payne: 132, British Library: 136) is probably due to what each considered an independent image; some are combined or overlapping.

Additional Descriptions

Additional description

Editions and Facsimiles

Digital facsimiles

British Library