Click here to skip to content

St Bavo, in a Passionale

St Bavo, in a Passionale

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 91

Item number: f.36r

Length: 33

Width: 22

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The daily round of prayers recited by monks (divine office) drew upon a number of different kinds of books: the psalter, Bible, hymnal, and collections of stories of saints' lives. The latter contained accounts of the deeds of the saints that marked them holy people. Excerpts from a saint's life might be read as part of the office on his or her feast day. This English martyrology or passional was made in the early 12th century for the monastery of St Augustine, Canterbury. Few contemporary English passionals have decorated initials (letters beginning a section of text). Commemorated on 1st October, St Bavo or Bavon was an early 7th-century saint of the Low Countries who gave his land to St Amandus to found his monastery at Ghent. The wealthy, spoiled Bavon turned from his previous lifestyle to become a monk. The Life of Bavo begins with the historiated initial (first letter bearing a picture). Lives of saints were often illustrated with pictures showing step-by-step action or narrative. The artist has exploited the shape of the initial B to create a sequence of two images to depict a story about St Bavo and his community.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites


Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: