Gallery of Grotesques: Sadistic monkeys

Manuscript B.11.22 is a book of hours from the 13th/14th century.  Described as ‘exquisitely written and ornamented, imperfect. Almost certainly of Flemish execution’, each image is accompanied by M.R. James’ description.

It all starts out innocently enough …

Monkeys playing bowls. f. 5v
Monkey turning a somersault. f. 7r

… but things takes a sinister turn

Monkey and dog attack hare. f. 19r
Fox dragged by the feet by monkey mounted on dog. f. 22r
Monkey hangs hare by the ears. f. 42v
Two monkeys with axes, whetting them? on square table. f. 63r
Rabbits in a hill. Monkey approaches with axe. f. 137v


Find out more here about the depiction of monkeys or apes in medieval art.

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