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Decorated Initials, In Gerald Of Wales's 'The Topography Of Ireland' f.9r

Decorated Initials, In Gerald Of Wales's 'The Topography Of Ireland' f.9r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1200

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 14

Item number: f.9r

Length: 26.8

Width: 18.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Gerald 'of Wales' (c. 1146-1223) was born at Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, and remained fiercely patriotic throughout his life. In 1184 he accompanied Prince John on an expedition to Ireland, after which he wrote 'The Topography Of Ireland'. It describes the country's physical features, birds and beasts, marvels, history, and the inhabitants. We owe much of our knowledge of medieval Ireland to this one work. The large red and green initial 'N' marks the start of the section 'On the wonders and miracles of Ireland'; these include a fish with gold teeth, a talking wolf, a man that was half an ox and an ox that was half a man, and a book that was dictated by an angel and beautifully decorated. Some scholars believe that this may be a description of a manuscript such as the Lindisfarne Gospels, now in the British Library

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