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Historiated Initials, With A Tree of Jesse, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Historiated Initials, With A Tree of Jesse, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1235

Shelfmark: Burney MS 3

Item number: f.402r

Length: 274

Width: 189

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 two men in the smaller initial 'M' are perhaps Matthew and another man. The large initial 'L' contains a three springing from Jesse's loins, as he sleeps at the base; at the top are the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child. Between them in the genealogy are two kings, one of whom is doubtless David.

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