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Inhabited Initial, In Jerome's Commentary On Isaiah And Ezekiel

Inhabited Initial, In Jerome's Commentary On Isaiah And Ezekiel

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Egerton MS 3776

Item number: f.3r

Length: 35

Width: 25

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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 text opens with an initial 'U' containing a bird amidst foliage. The series of marks like the letter 's' in the margins are placed to the right of biblical quotations. At the extreme lower edge is a guide to the rubricator, but the rubric was never supplied, perhaps because the artist did not leave sufficient space.

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