14 November 2007
ROXBURGHE CLUB -- MILLAR, Eric George. A Thirteenth Century Bestiary in the Library of Alnwick Castle. Oxford: University Press, Oxford, 1958.
4° (285 x 222mm). Title and text printed in red and black. 92 monochrome collotype plates. Original morocco-backed boards, spine titled in gilt, top edge gilt, others uncut (spine slightly faded, very light dampstain affecting one corner). Provenance: Sidney Dillon Ripley II (1913-2001, American ornithologist and conservationist, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1964-84, Professor and Director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History: his bookplate).
FIRST AND ONLY EDITION. Barker 224.
This is the prestigious facsimile -- made for presentation to the members of the Roxburghe Club -- of the Northumberland Bestiary, one of the masterpieces of English Gothic illumination. Perhaps the most outstanding class of medieval secular manuscript, the Bestiary is an encyclopedia of natural history combining observation of the real world with myth and allegory. The copy reproduced here has 112 large tinted line-drawings -- a technique eminently suitable for sensitive monochrome printed reproduction -- and is one of the most richly illustrated examples to survive. The original manuscript was in the library of the dukes of Northumberland of Alnwick Castle and Syon House until its sale in 1990. It is now Ms 100 of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
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