THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Medieval manuscripts blog

12 November 2017

Simply the bestiary

Every now and then we come across a real page Turner. So here it is, with a little help from a 1980s power ballad. 

You’re simply the bestiary!

Royal MS 12 C XIX

 Better than all the restiary …

Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 30r

Better than any swan

Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 39v

Any swan I ever met

 Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 39v close

I’m stuck on your hart!

Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 23r

I hang on every word you say

Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 65v

Tear us apart -

Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 26v

No no -

Baby, I would rather be dead.

Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 11v

Oooh! You’re the best!

Royal MS 12 C XIX f. 37v

All these images are from a richly illuminated bestiary in the British Library’s collections, Royal MS 12 C XIX. The manuscript in question was made in England early in the 13th century, and is related to other bestiaries now held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Follow the hyperlinks and you'll discover more of its beautiful images. We love it and have more than a feeling that you will, too.

And what's love got to do with it? Everything. 

Amy Jeffs

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