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Assumption of the Virgin, in a Missal

Assumption of the Virgin, in a Missal

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1425

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 109

Item number: f.197r

Length: 43.1

Width: 28.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A missal provides all the prayers, hymns, and readings necessary for the celebration of Mass over the course of the year. This deluxe 15th-century missal made for use on the altar was given to the church of St Lawrence in London by William Melreth, alderman, textile merchant of Broad Street and eventually member of Parliament, probably just before he served as Sheriff of London. Two calendars run side-by-side for church services. One calendar (the temporale) is arranged around Christmas and Easter (Advent, Lent, Pentecost). The other is a calendar of dates on which saints and some events are remembered (the sanctorale). The Assumption of the Virgin, or the entry of Mary into heaven, is one of the major feasts in the sanctorale. In this missal, importance of the feast of the Assumption is marked by an elegantly decorated border of plant ornament in rich colours and gold. The feast's prayers begin with a historiated initial showing the Virgin in heaven surrounded by glowing red cherubim.

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