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Elephants, In A Bestiary

Elephants, In A Bestiary

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1230

Shelfmark: Royal MS 12 F.xiii

Item number: f.13v

Length: 29.2

Width: 19.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The text of this manuscript concerns the characteristics of different kinds of animals, plants and stones. It seems to have been made for a librarian of the Benedictine abbey at Rochester, and its artist also worked on a Psalter probably made for a London patron; he therefore probably moved around Southeast England. The illumination was left unfinished, however, so it may be that the librarian ran out of money, or that the artist was called away to another project. The Bestiary explains to give birth elephants go into a pool up to the depth of its udders: the miniature shows a female elephant and her new-born offspring.

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