Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

14th Century Bookfoxes – a Vulpes Libris Random

Tumblr, where it is not akin to a seething pit of vipers, contains some absolute gems. One of them has the title Discarding Images. It exists to share with us all the fantastic world of marginal images in medieval manuscripts. The violin-playing bear, the man with the body of a snail, the monkey hugging a kitten – you know. That sort of everyday thing.

Recently, a 14th century illustration of a den of foxes appeared on my Facebook timeline, courtesy of Discarding Images. There we all were, our late medieval doppelgängers, and the Bookfoxes had great fun claiming their likenesses, as follows:

Moira: We need an Identify the Foxes competition!

Kate: I’m the one throttling the chicken. Lisa is the one with two cubs (mine are grown-up).

Kirsty M: I’m the one having the staring contest with the bird in the tree.

Moira: I believe I may well be the one top right that’s seen something terribly interesting, Just. Over. There.

Hilary: I’m the asleep one, top left.

Kirsty D: I’m the one just poking out of its foxhole, bottom right.

Simon: I’m the one staring intently at a tree that has nothing notable about it whatsoever, bottom right.

Moira: Jackie’s the one with its head turned away because it’s just spotted the fallen tree and is eyeing it up with a view to turning it into a painting …

Jackie: Thank you, Moira! Oh my, what a picture & I enjoyed the competition, too.

Hilary: I’m rather touched that no-one has claimed to be one of the foxes engaging in internecine strife. (Or maybe play-fighting.)

Kate: Hmm. I can think who that might have been.

So, there you are. You are welcome to treat this as a handy, cut-out-and-keep guide to the Bookfoxes, even though an unknown artist added it in the late 1300s to the manuscript of Gaston Phoebus, Livre de la chasse, Avignon ca. 1375-1400 (BnF, Français 619, fol. 22v)

And thank you to Discarding Images for giving a bunch of ostensibly grown-up book bloggers hours of childish fun.

All links accessed 31st August 2015

3 comments on “14th Century Bookfoxes – a Vulpes Libris Random

  1. Jackie
    August 31, 2015

    I’m going to have to check out that Discarding Images page, as you’ve got me curious now. I really want to see the musical bear…

  2. Hilary
    September 4, 2015

    Jackie, you can follow Discarding Images on Facebook, and then several times a week something very, very quirky will land on your timeline.

  3. Pingback: Coming Up on Vulpes Libris | Vulpes Libris

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This entry was posted on August 31, 2015 by in Entries by Hilary, Vulpes Randoms and tagged , , , .



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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