The image of the elephant is not strictly an illumination, as it has no gold decoration. It is actually a semi-transparent ink wash. The lines ruled to mark up the page can be seen, and the ink of the elephant itself appears to have been taken up by them, giving the elephant a stripey apprearance. This elephant looks remarkably like a real one, suggesting that the artist had actually seen as elephant in real life, or had copied from another artist who had seen one. A realistic elephant appears in an autograph copy of the chronicles of Matthew Paris, and it is believed to have been based on the author/artist having seen the elephant given by King Louis IX of France to King Henry III of England. (No bone china dinner sets or jewelled egg cups as royal gifts in those days!) The elephant does not carry a castle with soldiers on its back,as is usually depicted in the bestiaries, but a cheerful crew of characters, one with a trumpet and several with flags, who appear to be having a high old time. The carrying basket on the elephant bears heraldic motifs, which may be associated with the book's owner.
This page was actually exhibited in a marvellous exhibition entitled "Treasures of the World's Great Libraries"at the National Library of Australia, Canberra in 2002, so I got to meet him in person. A delightful coincidence!
The elephant in the Bodleian Library's bestiary (Bodley 764) (as shown in Barber 1992) is much more the traditional depiction carrying a fighting tower full of soldiers, with upright ears like funnels, hocks like a horse and no mouth, with slits in the trunk for the tusks.
English Bestiary, 13th century (British Library, Harley 3244, f.39). All images by permission of the British Library. These images are made available by the British Library under a Creative Commons licence.

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