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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the manuscript cat

Wouldn't it be lovely to have the choice of a modern book lavishly illustrated, as medieval manuscripts used to be? I wonder what it must have been like, say, to be a noblewoman presented with her new Book of Hours (a devotional book with inspiring readings and prayers), finding all the proper illustrations and then the funny tiny surprises left there by the illuminators.
Like this perfect snail-cat from 'The Maastricht Hours' of early 14th-c The Netherlands. Or this cat sharing a page with a couple of mice, a weasel and a hedgehog, from an English theological text of the mid-13th century. (Bonus from this work: cool dragon!) And this perturbed-looking puss from an herbal/medical text of the late 12th century (you should be able to zoom in if you have Flash).

All these treasures come courtesy of the British Library's online Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. Try and find something you like there.
And if you'd like to learn more about Books of Hours, here's a page filled with detail about how they were made and painted, and a glossary of terms.


Anonymous said...

How about that? A genuine snail-cat.... and we wondered where Steven Hillenburg got the idea for Gary the snail.

curator said...

See, I always thought Gary the Snail was super cute! Meow.