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The Dream Of Joseph, And The Nativity Of Christ, In 'The Lovell Lectionary'

The Dream Of Joseph, And The Nativity Of Christ, In 'The Lovell Lectionary'

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1403

Shelfmark: Harley MS 7026

Item number: f.19r

Length: 46.9

Width: 30.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

John, Lord Lovell, of Titchmarsh (near Thrapston in Northamptonshire) died in 1408. This lectionary contains a full-page miniature with an inscription stating that he commissioned it as a gift to Salisbury Cathedral, so that the canons would pray for his soul, and for that of his wife, Maud de Holand. The same miniature has the name of the artist, John Siferwas, a Dominican friar and the illuminator of the Sherborne Missal, which is also in the British Library. Siferwas was a successful artist who originated at Guildford but seems to have worked on an itinerant basis. Questions have arisen as to where the manuscript was made. It could well have been produced at Salisbury, although Glastonbury has been suggested. The Sherborne Missal is known to have been made for St Mary's Abbey, Sherborne, in Dorset, and probably was made there. Siferwas probably had been head-hunted for the project after his tour-de-force performance on the 'Lovell Lectionary'. This is a very unusual representation: the Virgin Mary lies on a bed, holding the Christ Child, the ox and ass to one side; Joseph sleeps at the foot of the bed, and an angel appears to him to warn him to flee from Herod with his family into Egypt (Matthew 2:13).

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