ID of a guenon in a seventeenth-century painting

Hello all

Please take a look at this seventeenth-century Dutch painting.  There’s a very good zoom facility.  Looking at Roger Kingdon’s field guide, the best match I can find is the lesser spot-nosed monkey, which he classifies as Cercopithecus (cephus) petaurista, though has Cercopithecus petaurista.

Help me with this if you’d like to contribute to a tiny footnote in art history! Particularly interested in hearing from anyone who’s seen this species (or whatever species you judge it to be) for real.

best wishes


Post author

James Blake


  • Jon Hall

    Fun! It might well be. It doesn’t look much like the Greater Spot-nosed but I’m not sure whether there are other candidates but I will ask around. I’ve seen these guys in Ghana and Sierra Leone. There is a picture here in my report here

  • Jon Hall

    hi again James. I spoke to Anthony Rylands who has written books on primate taxonomy. He also agreed with you and says “its probably C. p. petaurista not C. p. buettikoferi. But not sure”. i.e. he thinks it is probably the eastern not the western sub species. If you write to me – – I can send you a plate from a book.

  • Cheryl Antonucci

    Hello! I have worked with Cercopithecus petaurista petaurista for about 18 years. Looks like that to me.

  • James Blake

    Wow! Thanks for the super-quick and helpful replies. Jon, that’s very kind re the plate, but no need. The museum that owns the painting will be very grateful for the info you’ve both provided so far.

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