nobody here but us chickens

These energetic, characterful and beautifully drawn hens were sketched, probably by a little boy called Robert, about three hundred and fifty years ago in the Taylor family Bible. Aren’t they exquisite? I love the curious, slightly bonkers expressions on their little chicken faces.

This sort of thing is the reason I love my job. To find out a little more about the chickens (but not much, because they will always remain rather an enigma) have a look at the Chetham’s Library blog, home of all things quirky and interesting, many of them in an untidy pile on my desk.

Clicking on the images will enlarge them - because they're worth it.

16 comments:

rachel said...

Quite astonishing! Not least because a child was permitted to draw and write in a family Bible! Thank you.

rossichka said...

Dear Sue, thank you for showing this treasure to us! The child's drawings, made with ink, touched me deeply! Besides these are rather good-looking hens! And the little galloping horse on the right page is wonderful, too! Oh, Robert, if you only knew how many people think of you now....
You are lucky to work at this old library, full of history, marvels and so many memories, hidden in the books! I suppose it is an event, when you discover something like that.:)

Frances said...

Sue, these drawings are so delightful...full of attitude, motion and benefitting from close observation of fowls in motion.

How did you all at the library discover, or re-discover, these marvelous pages? Do you think that there are other treasures hidden amongst the volumes?

Of course, my guess would be Yes!

Do any of the current generation of the family who owned this bible still live in the area? If so...do they know more about Robert?

Thank you so much for letting us see these chickens! xo

Pomona said...

I find pictures like that really moving - we never know what traces we will leave behind that will speak to future generations, do we?

You are so lucky to work in such an amazing place!

Pomona x

Vintage Tea Time said...

Wow, amazing - thanks for sharing. Lovely treasure. Abby x

Gilly said...

Those hens are absolutely gorgeous! As you say, bonkers expressions! I love them!

Do you think he got into trouble for drawing in the family Bible, and in ink, too? I rather think he did!

Magic Cochin said...

Wonderfully chickeny!

Celia
x

Jane Housham said...

Wonderful treasure!

Gretel said...

I absolutely adore them! I hope he didn't get into trouble for drawing in the family bible; how astonished he would be if he knew that we were admiring his chickens 350 years later, via what he would regard as a magic medium, the Internet! I can really see these needle felted...

paintdropskeepfalling said...

I wonder how much trouble he got into doodling in the family bible!

Andrea said...

Well, what a delight! I love the idea of that naughty little boy drawing in the bible, not just one but a whole page of hens! I hope his parents smiled when they found them!

Hollace said...

My grandmother was a Taylor from England. Wonder if we're related?

Vivien said...

Fascinating illustration. I wonder if the little boy was able to become an artist at that time? I'm sure he would have had the talent and the bravery.

Gina said...

What delightful illustrations - each little chicken sketch is so expressive

A time to dance said...

wonderful...i love them ...but i love anything to do with birds and bibles of course...

GardenofDaisies said...

What a wonderful hidden piece of art this is! But you KNOW he got into big trouble with his Mamma when he did it.