A Series of Fifty-four Clever Drawings on Vellum: Monstrous Births in Italian ms 63

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Italian ms 63, now in The John Rylands Library, contains fifty-four images of monstrous births, both human and animal. The manuscript was probably completed in the mid-eighteenth century and was owned by Edward Davenport (1778-1847) of Capesthorne Hall and later by the Manchester-based physician David Lloyd Roberts (1835-1920). This article explores the possible sources for some of the images, which range from descriptions or illustrations in well-known publications on monsters, to popular pamphlets, to drawings and paintings. An analysis of the choice of subject matter and the ways in which the source material has been used places the manuscript within eighteenth-century collecting practices and emphasises the multivalency of the monstrous.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-80
Number of pages23
JournalJohn Rylands University Library of Manchester. Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Related information


View all