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St Andrew, in the Caligula Troper

St Andrew, in the Caligula Troper

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1060

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Caligula A XIV

Item number: f.30v

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Made up of fragments from a late Anglo-Saxon liturgical chant book, the Caligula Troper's illuminations introduce songs which would be inserted into the mass on special feast days and sung by a soloist, hence the book's small scale. The pictures' geometric abstraction of form and use of vibrant colours embellished with gold give an opulence that speaks of manufacture for use by an important figure. It is named for its 17th-century position in a bookcase supporting a bust of Caligula in the Cotton rare books library. Its selection of tropes (songs) and where it was in the Middle Ages suggest origins at Winchester or Worcester.

Most of the pictures in the Caligula Troper depict narratives, but some, such as this one of St Andrew enthroned in heaven, signal their departure from storytelling by depicting their subjects frontally. The image for his feast shows the saint beneath a celestial arch crowned with towers and supported with elaborate columns. As one of the apostles, St Andrew would be a judge at the Second Coming, but he is rarely shown enthroned alone.

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