A Decorated Initial, in Bede's 'Commentary on the Catholic Epistles'
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
The best-selling house author of the monastery of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow, the Venerable Bede (c. 672-735) is most well-known for his 'History of the English Church and People.' He wrote a number of biblical commentaries as well, including one on the Catholic Epistles. This copy belonged to the library of Durham Cathedral, where his tomb is still located.
On this page, the commentary on Chapter 1 of the Letters of John end, as indicated by the title in red with first letter green ("explicit"), and Chapter 2 begins ("incipit"). The text of the letters of Peter begin with a large, colourful first letter. The coloured and decorated letters were aids to help the reader recognise divisions in the text. The large first letter beginning the second chapter is decorated in patterns that are simplified plant forms, in the style typical of 12th-century textbooks and commentaries from England.