PETERBOROUGH BESTIARY MS 53, Medieval Wonders of the Animal Kingdom

Illuminated Manuscripts

Published by Tokyo and Luzern The Yushodo Company with Faksimile Verlag 2002
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An exact true-to-the-original facsimile of the famed Peterborough Bestiary illuminated manuscript circa 1300. Published from the original manuscript kept today in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge. Limited to 1480 copies worldwide. Full reproduction of the original manuscript pages including the 104 painted miniatures in colours and gold, 108 colourful ornamented initial, double column English Gothic text with foliate bars in colour. Folio (13.7 by 9.29 inches), beautifully bound in full brown hand-tooled leather, the tooling on the covers reflecting the contents of the book with motifs such as a griffon, a lion and a dragon. It is based on a medieval Cambridge binding now in the Pierpont Morgan Library. All leaves are trimmed exactly as in the original and stitched by hand. 44 page facsimile, additionally is a second volume containing commentary and a transcription/translation of the text of the Bestiary. As new. The Peterborough Bestiary: describing and interpreting the animal world. Bestiaries have been known since classical antiquity. For a short period of about 200 years, between the early 12th and the early 14th cen-tury, Bestiaries were produced with magnificent illustrations. Many of them were made in England, and are now among the most famous medieval English works of art. Perhaps the finest example is the Peterborough Bestiary, which was illuminated around 1300. It probably belonged to the monks of Peterborough Abbey in eastern England, one of the richest monasteries in the country. It combines delicate artistry with scientific knowledge. Dogs, horses, monkeys and lions, deer, sirens and the phoenix are among more than a hundred animals depicted in this volume, which describes and interprets their behaviour from a Christological perspective. People believed in animals that did not exist and miraculous qualities were ascribed to real animals. The Peterborough Bestiary is among the most richly decorated works of its kind, and this fine facsimile fully captures that richness in all its subtlety and granduour. A total of 104 miniatures illustrate the pages of this recreated manuscript; they are either set on backgrounds of burnished gold in coloured Gothic ornamental frames or on colourful diaper patterned grounds framed in gold. The page format of 13.70 x 9.29 inches makes the Peterborough Bestiary one of the largest manuscripts of its genre. Exuberantly decorated initials subdivide the text, which is written in two columns throughout the book. Each chapter featuring an animal description opens with an initial in red, blue and gold extending over several lines. A distinctive feature of the English Gothic style is the inclusion of countless small male and female portraits integrated into the body of the letters with great care. These alternate with initials from which foliate branches sprout into elaborate ornament between the columns, housing drolleries and little birds. After its beginnings in France, the Gothic style took over from Romanesque art and brought about a new style of painting and ornamentation in England. The desire to lend the figures a greater three-dimensional depth results in graceful and elegant outlines. Both the hair styles and the facial traits of the small portraits in the initial on the left clearly show the stylistic features of Gothic painting. The new aesthetics also had their effect on the depiction of animals, of course. Their bodies now stand out more clearly against the background; their movements have become more natural. Accordingly, the 104 miniatures in the Peterborough Bestiary unfold a vivid and impressive panorama of native and exotic animals, livelier and closer to nature than the earlier Bestiaries of Romanesque art. It demonstrates the narrative talent of the artist. Showing a great sense of detail, he tried to paint animals as realistically as possible: brooding birds, swarming bees, and varied hunting scenes mingle in these miniatures an evocative accoun. Bookseller Inventory #

Bibliographic Details

Title: PETERBOROUGH BESTIARY MS 53, Medieval ...
Publisher: Tokyo and Luzern The Yushodo Company with Faksimile Verlag 2002

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