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The Wolf Guarding Edmund's Head, In John Lydgate's 'Lives Of Sts. Edmund And Fremund' And Other Middle English Texts

The Wolf Guarding Edmund's Head, In John Lydgate's 'Lives Of Sts. Edmund And Fremund' And Other Middle English Texts

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1450

Shelfmark: Harley MS 4826

Item number: f.26v

Length: 29.9

Width: 21

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

John Lydgate (died c. 1450) was a monk at the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, and translated the 'Lives of Sts. Edmund and Fremund' from Latin into English to commemorate the visit of King Henry VI to the abbey in 1434-1435. The artist of this volume was probably a member of a workshop based in the town. One of the miracles surrounding the events of Edmund's martyrdom is the legend that, after he had been beheaded, and his head hidden in a thicket, a wolf guarded the head and protected it from other wild animals. This marginal miniature is placed next to the text of another miracle: the head cried out "Here! Here! Here!" enabling it to be found, and reunited with the body.

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