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King Offa As Founder Of St. Albans Abbey, In Matthew Paris's 'Lives Of The Offas'

King Offa As Founder Of St. Albans Abbey, In Matthew Paris's 'Lives Of The Offas'

Medium: Ink on vellum

Date: 1320

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Nero D I

Item number: f.25r

Length: 35

Width: 22.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Matthew Paris (c. 1200-1259) became a monk of St. Albans in 1217, and in 1236 became the abbey chronicler, a task which allowed him to exercise and explore his talents as a scribe, and as an accomplished and inventive artist. Most of this manuscript is written in Matthew's own distinctive handwriting, as are the miniatures, except for some added in the 14th century. Known by Matthew as his 'Book of Additions', it contains a variety of miscellaneous texts and images.

The usual medieval way of depicting a founder is to show a figure holding a small version of a building: here King Offa is enthroned, holding a stylised model of St. Albans Abbey, flanked by two monks.

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