Duke John of Berry, son, brother and uncle of a king, is famous for his achievement as patron and builder. To this passion for the arts, the Duke associated, like many of his contemporaries, a particular attraction for animals, especially exotic ones, which enriched his menagerie. Some guests of this menagerie are known through historical sources: doe, bears, swans, one ostrich and even one dromadary, as well as a large number of songbirds. Among the winged group, the parakeet is indirectly mentionned in the Duke’s inventories by a “caige d’un papegal”. However, this bird appears several times in the manuscripts commissioned by the Duke, notably in the Grandes Heures (Jacquemart de Hesdin et al. 1409) where it wears twice a yellow plumage. We propose to see in this particularity, not a fantasy of the illuminator, but an evidence of the possession by the Duke of a ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri Scopoli, 1769) carrying the lutino mutation.
Middle Ages, ring-necked parakeet, lutino mutation, illuminating, Duke of Berry.