Bestiary : Being an English Version of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Bodley 764 Paperback
Bestiaries are a particularly characteristic product of medieval England, and give a unique insight into the medieval mind.
Richly illuminated and lavishly produced, they were luxury objects for noble families.
Their three-fold purpose was to provide a natural history of birds, beasts and fishes, to draw moral examples from animal behaviour (the industrious bee, the stubborn ass), and to reveal a mystical meaning - the phoenix, for instance, as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. This Bestiary, MS Bodley 764, was produced around the middle of the thirteenth century and is of singular beauty and interest.
The lively illustrations have the freedom and naturalistic quality of the later Gothic style, and make dazzling use of colour.
This book reproduces the 136 illuminations to the same size and in the same place as the original manuscript, fitting the text around them.
Richard Barber's translation from the original Latin is a delight to read, capturing both the serious intent of the manuscript and its charm.
RICHARD BARBER has written many books on the history of and life in the middle ages, from his Somerset Maugham Award-winning The Knight and Chivalry, by way of biographies of Henry II and the Black Prince, to an anthology of Arthurian literature from England, France and Germany, Arthurian Legends, and an account of the historical Arthur, King Arthur: Hero and Legend.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 206 pages, 136 Illustrations, color
- Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/01/1992
- Category: Byzantine & Medieval art c 500 CE to c 1400
- ISBN: 9780851157535
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Review by the1butterfly
Yeah! That is all I can say at my absolute delight over the fact that this exists. The stories about each animal are fascinating, but the illustrations are actually the reason I bought this. I wanted period sources to use as a basis for embroidery patterns, and so far I used the moons and stars on the backgrounds of one of the pictures to trim a bog dress. I hope that I will use more, because this book is very inspiring.