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Historiated Initial With Scenes From the Gospel Of John, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Historiated Initial With Scenes From the Gospel Of John, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1235

Shelfmark: Burney MS 3

Item number: f.440r

Length: 273

Width: 193

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 large initial 'I' contains four separate scenes: John with the head of his evangelist symbol, the Eagle; John resting against Christ at the Last Supper; John presenting a woman (the woman taken in adultery, or the woman of Samaria?) to Christ; and the Marriage Feast at Cana.

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