Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Aberdeen Bestiary

The Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen University Library MS 24) is considered to be one of the best examples of its type due to its lavish and costly illuminations. The manuscript, written and illuminated in England around 1200, is of added interest since it contains notes, sketches and other evidence of the way it was designed and executed. Its text and appearance are closely related to the Ashmole Bestiary, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1511 which provides further insights into workshop practice.

The recorded history of the manuscript begins in 1542 when it was listed as No.518 Liber de bestiarum natura in the inventory of the Old Royal Library, at Westminster Palace. The press mark is on f.1r. This library was assembled by Henry VIII, with professional assistance from the antiquary John Leland, to house manuscripts and documents rescued from the dissolution of the monasteries.

View the manuscript here @ University of Aberdeen

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