Sunday, November 17, 2013


It was a lazy rainy Sunday morning.  Jesse came in early after a night out and was so deeply sleeping that I drew him twice before he moved.  I let the pen swing in lazy swopes to reflect Jesse's relaxed state and the general feel of the day.

While I was drawing Jesse, P alerted me to a pitying of doves out in the street, lazily pecking tree seeds from the damp surface of the road.  We usually see the doves sitting up on a wire, no more than one or two at a time.  Today's congregation called for the proper term of venery:  a pitying of doves.  I was looking up the name for a collection of doves when I came across an explanation of what are called terms of venery.  These are hunting terms from the Middle Ages.  It was a kind of playful intellectual game for people at a hunt to use the appropriate term for various groups of animals, and the terms had been developed to reflect the emotional characteristics of the groups.  The word venery comes from the Middle English venerie, which comes from the Middle French venerie, which comes from the Latin venor, meaning to hunt.

A little later I saw a dissimulation or flocking of birds-- those wonderful groups of birds that swoop and twist and turn like a single organism.  I want to use a group of birds in the print I'm working on, so I drew a couple of versions of the flocking.


  1. Oh brilliant. I love these terms and that they are linked to Middle Ages hunts even more fun. Is there a site on the net with these terms, that would be worth a visit.

  2. Google "terms of venery" and you will find many web sites!