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Historiated Initial With Blind Tobit, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Historiated Initial With Blind Tobit, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1235

Shelfmark: Burney MS 3

Item number: f.207v

Length: 272

Width: 179

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This Bible belonged to, and was presumably made for, Robert de Bello (i.e. 'of Battle', near Hastings), who was abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St. Augustine, Canterbury, from 1224-53. He was clearly concerned to have an accurate text--it has been corrected carefully throughout--and his influence may be responsible for some of the very unusual imagery included among the initials. The initial 'T' to the apocryphal book of Tobits shows Tobit on the left (his closed eyes signifying his blindness) sending out his son Tobias with the angel Raphael. This is one of many uncommon scenes in this Bible: usually medieval artists depicted the blinding of Tobit.

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