Decorated Initial, In Jerome's Commentary On Isaiah And Ezekiel f.90r
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Bury St. Edmunds had one of the most important libraries in medieval England: a late 12th-century catalogue lists about 140 volumes, of which a few dozen survive today. The really exceptional feature that makes this volume stand out from most other 12th-century manuscripts--whether from Bury or elsewhere--is that it retains its original binding, almost completely intact. It allows us a rare chance to see for ourselves what such a book would have looked like to its original 12th-century readers.
The prologue to the second main text in the volume follows a blank page, and is introduced by an elegant initial 'F'. Unusually for the 12th century, there is an original foliation in the upper margin, which reads 'First leaf' in faint leadpoint.