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Historiated Initial With The First Temptation Of Christ, In A Psalter

Historiated Initial With The First Temptation Of Christ, In A Psalter

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1220

Shelfmark: Lansdowne MS 431

Item number: f.44r

Length: 33

Width: 21

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The saints commemorated in the calendar and litany of this Psalter point without doubt to its having been made for an Augustinian house in East Anglia, and this house is very likely to have been Barnwell Priory, on the outskirts of Cambridge. Psalm 52 is sometimes illustrated with an image of the Devil tempting Christ. Here Christ is dropping the stones, which the Devil has tried to provoke Christ to tun into loaves of bread. The top left part of the initial 'D' includes a favourite form of medieval decoration: three hares which have two ears each, but only three in total!

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