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Matthew Paris's 'Lives Of The Offas' f.18r

Matthew Paris's 'Lives Of The Offas' f.18r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1320

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Nero D I

Item number: f.18r

Length: 35

Width: 22.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: 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. The 'Lives of the Offas' concerns two Kings, both called Offa, the first of whom had promised to found a monastery in the 5th century, and the second of whom carried this out when St. Alban's relics were discovered in the 8th century.

Offa, king of Mercia, effectively transferred the archbishopric of Canterbury to Lichfield, which was in the centre of his kingdom. The picture on the right shows the investiture of the archbishop of Lichfield.

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