the art of the british bird

The art of medieval garden birds:


The Sherbourne Missal is a (15th illuminated religious text that features the most beautifully painted and realistic depiction of forty-four British birds, which are named not in Latin but in Middle English.


The Sherbourne Missal (formerly the Alnwick Missal) is now part of the British Library collection, but was originally used for celebrating Mass at the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary’s in Sherborne, Dorset.

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 18.36.06

The principal artist was John Siferwas and the principal scribe was John Whas, but they were assisted by an unknown number of unnamed and uncredited assistants, at least one of whom must have been a keen ornithologist.

You can see more of the beautiful naturalistic work online here or buy hard-copy prints from the British Library.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s