December 10 – Griffin

speccoll
Tuesday 10 December 2019
The griffin from the St Andrews Psalter, mid-15th century (msBX2033.A00).

The griffin, griffen or gryphon has the body, legs and tail of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion is the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of the birds, griffins were considered powerful creatures.

This illuminated initial D incorporating a griffin is from the St Andrews Psalter. This is a manuscript book of Psalms (with a liturgical calendar of Sarum (or Salisbury) use), which was written in England, probably near London, in the mid-15th century (msBX2033.A00). It is known as the St Andrews Psalter as it has been in the possession of the University Library since the late 17th century.

Griffins in Philosophorum Praeclara Monita, 1710-1712 (ms38190)

Further examples of griffins can be found in alchemical manuscript, Philosophorum Praeclara Monita, dated 1710-1712. This French manuscript is by an anonymous author and contains 48 allegorical illustrations.

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