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Marginal Hybrid Decoration, In Henry de Bracton's 'The Laws And Customs Of England'

Marginal Hybrid Decoration, In Henry de Bracton's 'The Laws And Customs Of England'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1310

Shelfmark: Additional MS 24067

Item number: f.2r

Length: 36.7-00-00 00:00:00

Width: 22.5-00-00 00:00:00

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Henry de Bracton (d.1286), perhaps from Bratton, near Westbury in Wiltshire, was a senior judge in the middle of the 13th century. His 'Laws and Customs of England' was a philosophical treatise, laying out principles of English Common Law: it includes, for example, the maxim that 'the king is under the law because the law makes him king', which was used against the monarch during the Civil War. It continued to be a fundamental text for five centuries. Law books were usually functional rather than luxury objects, but this example is neatly written and has fine decoration; it has an inscription recording that it belonged to the abbot of Chertsey in 1530. Two of the four marginal figures play musical instruments, a third is about to shoot at a magpie with a bow and arrow, while in the lower right-hand corner is a figure whose headgear suggests that he may be a lawyer.

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