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Decorated Initial, In Osbern's 'Life Of Dunstan' f.2r

Decorated Initial, In Osbern's 'Life Of Dunstan' f.2r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1120

Shelfmark: Harley MS 56

Item number: f.2r

Length: 26.2

Width: 17.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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Osbern (d. c.1090) was born in Canterbury and was brought up by the dean of the cathedral, where he became a monk and, later, the prior. He is said to have written treatises on music, but is most famous for writing saints' lives, and for translating others from Anglo-Saxon into Latin. St. Dunstan (960-980) was abbot Glastonbury, and later bishop of Worcester and London, before finally becoming archbishop of Canterbury. This copy of Osbern's biography of Dunstan was owned by St. Mary's Abbey, York, in the Middle Ages. As is common in 12th-century manuscripts, the text begins with a prologue which is given a decorated, but not especially lavish, initial. Through the slightly translucent parchment one can see the larger initial which introduces the main text on the other side of the leaf.

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