An­i­mal: A Beastly Com­pen­dium

The Field - - Country Estate -

The Pea­cock, Bad coun­sel by ANONY­MOUS This large sheet from 1535-40 must be part of a col­lec­tion on the theme of wis­dom and folly sym­bol­ised by birds. The Prints Depart­ment holds two oth­ers, fea­tur­ing a passer­ine bird ad­vo­cat­ing lust and a cock­erel as a good gov­er­nor. Here, the pea­cock en­cour­ages the be­hav­iour of a rich tyrant who has no de­sire to be loved. Judg­ing from their for­mat, or­na­men­tal qual­ity and the poor state of their re­verse sides, they were likely to

have been used as wall­pa­per.

Edited ex­tract from An­i­mal: A Beastly

Com­pen­dium by Rémi Mathis and Valérie Sueur-her­mel. Pub­lished by

Blooms­bury Vis­ual Arts. RRP £30. Trea­sures from the prints and pho­to­graphs depart­ment at the Bi­b­lio­theque Na­tionale de France

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