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Birds in the Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg

Birds in the Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg

By Charles Vaurie

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 29, no. 6 (1971)

The miniatures of the Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg incorporate many birds among the leaves and tendrils of their margins, and occasionally another small animal, such as a rabbit or a butterfly.

The birds are surprisingly numerous – there are almost two hundred, all very small, usually three-eighths of an inch or less in size. Despite their tiny dimensions, well over half these birds are painted with remarkable fidelity to color, pattern, and attitude, and are easily identifiable. Other birds can be identified only as sparrows, larks, finches, and so on, but not as individual species. A few are too fanciful, or too poorly executed, to permit any identification. My estimate is that about forty species are shown, excluding the more dubious identifications or fanciful figures.

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