Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Library Cats I

I  wish we could have a library cat like other libraries do.  However, we really can't risk a hairball suddenly gracing the open pages of the first printed edition of Marco Polo's Travels (Bell Call # 1477 Po).  Hence the title of this blog:  it reflects my own cat-like curiosity about the world and its books.  And although I can't cuddle up with one on a rainy afternoon at work, cats do grace several of the pages in the Bell Library's rare book collection.  Take this one, for instance, a medieval mouser complete with trophy.
Bell Library shelf mark: 1400 oBa
It's a hand-drawn marginal illustration in our copy of Bartholomeus Anglicus' Le propriétaire des choses.  This late 14th-century Old French edition of the 13th-century Latin original, De proprietatibus rerum, is a marvelous example of a decorated and illuminated European book.

Bartholomeus, a Franciscan monk, compiled his master work ca. 1240;  it was translated into French by Jean Corbechon in 1372.

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