Houghton Library, MS Typ 101
(Harvard Aviary-Bestiary)


Produced: Paris, c. 1200-1250
Location: Houghton Library (Harvard College / Harvard University), Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Type: Bestiary
Language: Latin
Folios: 89
Author: Hugh of Fouilloy
Illustrated: Yes
Scribe: at least two
Binding: 15th century calf over boards
Media: Vellum
Script: Littera textualis
Dimensions: Height: 16 cm Width: 11 cm
Folio 9r


Formerly known as the "Kraus Bestiary", when in the possession of book and manuscript dealer H. P. Kraus, and the "Hofer Bestiary" when owned by Philip Hofer. This is a multi-part manuscript.

Part 1: f. 3-16 - a series of 75 miniatures. The illustrations all occur together at the start of the manuscript, generally with two or more beast pictures per page. The only text accompanying the pictures is a caption naming the beast. The text pages have no illustrations, but often have spaces left blank for pictures. Lehmann-Haupt takes this to indicate that the manuscript was intended as a model book, an example for copies made by other scribes, in which copies the pictures would be placed in the spaces on the text pages. Some of the pictures have "pounce"marks, used to create copies. There are pictures for both the De Bestiis and the Dicta Chrysostomi sections of the manuscript.

Part 2: f. 17-58 - The text of the De Bestiis, Book I, ascribed to Hugo de Folieto. The manuscript contains only Book I of this work, preceded by a letter purportedly from Hugo to Raynerus, with the title Incipit libellus cuiusdam ad rainerum conversum cognomine corde benignum de quadam avium significatione mistica et morali. This section of the De Bestiis is an aviary, containing only articles on birds. It has two articles not found in the Patrologia Latina edition, on the noctua (owl) and the cornice (crow). Folios 1r-8v are illustrations. Clark aviary group: Paris.

Part 3: f. 58-60 - Tractus Hugonis prioris de diversis coloribus ac naturis columbarum. This is two chapters from the Latin Physiologus, based on the same version group as was used by Guillaume le Clerc (the A text). A version of this text is also found in Newberry Library, MS 31.1 (f. 43r - 44r) and British Library, Royal MS 2 C. xii.

Part 4: f. 60-89 - The text of the Dicta Chrysostomi, ascribed to John Chrysostom. Titled Incipiunt dicta Iohannis Crisostomi de naturis bestiarum, this work, ascribed in the Middle Ages to Chrysostom, is a bestiary with the usual Physiologus subjects, but without the birds covered in De Bestiis. A version of this text is also found in Newberry Library, MS 31.1 (f. 44r - 52v).

[Description based in part on Ives & Lehmann-Haupt 1942; Clarke, 1989; and Clark, 1992]

This manuscript is related to National Library of Russia, Lat. Q.v.III. 1.

Additional Descriptions

Additional description 1
Additional description 2

Editions and Facsimiles

Printed facsimiles

Ives/Lehmann-Haupt, 1942 (partial)
Clarke, 1989 (Partial, monochrome plates)

Digital facsimiles

Houghton Library