Upside-Down Crowns, In Matthew Paris's 'Epitome Of Chronicles'
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Matthew Paris was a monk of St Albans' Abbey, from 1217 until his death in 1259, about whom we know a great deal: he was a prolific chronicler of national and local events, from which we can learn a lot about him. Manuscripts such as this, in his own handwriting, demonstrate his interest in, and aptitude for, subjects are varied as geography, heraldry, and history, as well as his considerable abilities as a draughtsman.
Matthew helped his readers find their way about his chronicle by means of marginal diagrams. This section of the manuscript is a continuation of Matthew's chronicle, written after his death. On this page the rubric introduces a description of the death of Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I of England, in 1290. In the upper and lower margins are upside-down crowns, copying Matthew's method of indicating a royal death.