Parent Object
Apes Dancing to Ring-around-a-Rosy
Explore Object
Creative Commons License

Apes Dancing to Ring-around-a-Rosy

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The song "Ring-around-a-Rosy" is still popular today, often danced in a circle just as we see the monkeys doing here. Yet this seemingly lighthearted song has a dark past. The plague swept Europe during the 14th century, and the song's words actually refer to its terrible symptoms: a circular rose-colored rash, sneezing or coughing, and finally, death. Flower petals were worn in a pouch around the neck to keep the smell of death away. The song, then, seems very different in this context. Ring-a ring-o-rosies A pocket full of posies Achoo, Achoo, We all fall down.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Checkmate! Medieval People at Play. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore, after 1894, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, after 1894

Download Image Add to Collection Creative Commons License

ca. 1315-25 (Gothic)
parchment with ink and paint
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 6 5/16 x W: 4 5/16 in. (16 x 11 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

Thumbnail: Apes Dancing to Ring-around-a-Rosy
Zoom Out Zoom In Back to Details  
Full Size: Apes Dancing to Ring-around-a-Rosy