Date of Award

August 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Richard Leson

Committee Members

Derek Counts


Trying to figure out where and when a medieval manuscript was made is one of the most contentious topics in book scholarship. Instead of limiting scholarship to textual contents, new work looks at manuscripts, including bestiaries, with a multifaceted and interdisciplinary approach, which leads to exciting new ideas. Bestiaries were among the most popular texts in medieval England and have consistently been viewed as only their textual contents. Starting in the 1980’s, bestiary scholarship expanded beyond text, but a textually and iconographically similar group of bestiaries had not yet received the same holistic treatment. The Morgan Group is the British Library Royal C XIX, the Worksop Bestiary (Pierpont Morgan Library, M.81), the Northumberland Bestiary (J. Getty Museum and Library, MS.100) and the St. Petersburg Bestiary (National Library of Russia, Q.v.V.1). There has been no in-depth investigation of the group together and with image analysis privileged over textual recension.I will look at the Morgan Group as a whole, then, after finding the differences and similarities, I will add to the conversation about dating and locating their production, I will discuss the textual traditions for context, and finally look at the manuscripts through analysis of individual style, composition, color, and mise-en-page. This research will provide evidence for why the bestiaries were so popular and how they were utilized in medieval English society.