British Library, Additional MS 11283


Produced: England, c 1170
Location: British Library, London, England, UK
Type: Bestiary
Family: Second
Language: Latin
Folios: 41
Illustrated: Yes
Media: Vellum
Script: English Protogothic book script
Dimensions: Height: 28 cm Width: 17.5 cm
Folio 3r


This is the earliest known manuscript of the Second Family bestiary. The subjects have now been classified into beasts (folio 1r-16r), birds (folio 16r-24v), reptiles (folio 24v-28r), fish (folio 29r-32r, not illustrated) and plants (folio32r-34r), and they follow a special order, beginning Lion, Tiger, Pard, Panther, etc. There are also sections on nature (folio 34r-38v) and on the ages of man (folio 38v-40v).

There is one large drawing in red and green (f. 41r, fire stones), and 100 unframed drawings mainly in brown ink, a few fully painted and some others with a color wash. All of the illustrations are on folios 1r-28r and 41r; folios 28v-40v are not illustrated. Several drawings are pricked for pounce transfer. Small decorated initials in red and blue with some pen flourishing.

On some pages there are marginal notes, probably added later, that give references to Gaius Julius Solinus as the source of the animal descriptions.

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British Library