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Zoomorphic Initial, In The Life of St. Modwenna

Zoomorphic Initial, In The Life of St. Modwenna

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1175

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Cleopatra A II

Item number: f.16r

Length: 17.6

Width: 12.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

St. Modwenna was supposed to have been a 9th-century virgin who founded and became abbess of a nunnery at Trensall in Staffordshire, and later lived as a hermit at Andressey, near Burton-on-Trent, where her relics were kept after her death. Many miracles were said to have occurred at her shrine at Burton. The 12th-century copy of the saint's life contained in this manuscript is most likely to have been wanted at Burton itself, and an early 16th-century inscription on a flyleaf records that this manuscript was at the monastery there. The initial 'I' is formed of a dragon-like creature sprouting foliage from its mouth.

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