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2002 articles 1987 articles

Deciphering the Cotton Genesis miniatures: preliminary observations concerning the use of colour

Marian Wenzel

Abstract

THE Cotton Genesis (British Library, Cotton MS. Otho B. VI) was written and illuminated at some point during the period of the fourth to sixth centuries AD, and very badly charred in the Cotton Library fire of 1731. Since 1979 I have been recording all the decipherable features of the 200 or so surviving miniatures as full-size copies. These are not reconstructions, since I have not attempted to supply anything which is not visible to the naked eye; my intention has been to make available at a glance features which often can be read only with great difficulty (e.g. by careful comparison of the recto and verso of a leaf) on the fire-damaged originals.

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