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The exhibition also features an amazing print showing several men measuring a beached whale on a Dutch beach, another illustration of a great beast that was now the object of scientific scrutiny rather than passive wonder. Contrast this whale with illustrations from two thirteenth-century bestiaries in the collection of the British Library and you can easily see the difference of attitude. The two medieval whales are depicted in standard fashion as ” islands”, based on the legend of Saint…

The dog-sized ants and the camels (London, British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius B V, part 1, f. 80v). - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/science/#sthash.lAq3odRY.dpuf

From the Medieval Manuscripts blog post 'How the Camel got the Hump'. Image: Two camels in the Marvels of the East (London, British Library, MS Cotton Vitellius A XV, f. 101v).

Tractatus de Herbis (ca.1440) Selections from a beautifully illustrated 15th century version of the “Tractatus de Herbis”, a book produced to help apothecaries and physicians from different linguistic backgrounds identify plants they used in their daily medical practise. No narrative text is present in this version, simply pictures and the names of each plant written in various languages. Miniature of plants and a demon: the herb ypericon, supposed to repel demons.