Some images just hit the right spot. This cute owl in his best red coat is part of a decorated page in a Pontifical, a book that was read during a special Mass in the church, often by the bishop himself. Having ploughed through a full page of big chunky letters, he was treated to a change of pace: a bit of entertainment in the lower margin. Hidden inside the colourful display sits the owl, who is looking, puzzled, at a bell. While the significance of the scene is lost on me, it made my day. Having been locked out of my Tumblr account for three days (see my previous post), it is good to be able to show you entertaining medieval things like this again. Thank you Tumblr Support Team!
Pic: Aarau, Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek, MS MurF 3 (dated 1508). The full manuscript can be browsed here.
Sharing a binding
This is a clever book from the 18th century, printed in Oxford in 1756. It presents both the Old and New Testament, although the books are not bound together the regular way, behind one another. Instead, the binder opted to place them next to each other. This very rare binding technique is part of a family that includes the dos-à-dos (or “back to back”) binding, which I blogged about before (here). Having the two testaments bound this way allowed the reader to consult passages from both books at the same time. Indeed, the empty pages in the front and back are filled with notes, including in what looks like Greek and Hebrew. It appears this clever binding had a reader to match.
Pic: Manchester, Chetham’s Library (source).
Star Wars / Wallace & Gromit. By Sean Pando
Medieval John Lennon
This familiar-looking face features in a Latin grammar book from the 15th century. The schoolbook includes entertaining scenes that encourage students in the challenging task of learning Latin. I like this image - and not just for its early depiction of a pair of glasses. It appeals to me because I imagine looking at a medieval portrait of John Lennon. It is not often that an image from a distant past connects so vividly to a modern - familiar - face. I wonder what the medieval student who used this book thought of this portrait. I fear that without the positive connection of Lennon this is merely a squinty-eyed, somewhat sour-looking person. Or worse: the student’s Latin teacher.
Pic: Uppsala, University Library, C 678. Image taken from this blog on the book, which provides additional images.
The phantasmagorical and surreal animal sculptures by Canadian artist Ellen Jewett. Between dream and nightmare, some strange creations born of a symbiosis between organic and mechanical elements, a meeting between fantasy, gothic and steampunk. Some very detailed sculptures in clay on a metal frame.
Visit her website at http://www.creaturesfromel.ca/