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Mermaids And An Acrobatic Monkey, In The 'Alphonso' Psalter

Mermaids And An Acrobatic Monkey, In The 'Alphonso' Psalter

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1284

Shelfmark: Additional MS 24686

Item number: f.13r

Length: 24.1

Width: 16.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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Heraldry on the first page of the Psalms text strongly suggests that this Psalter was commissioned by King Edward I for the marriage of his son Alphonso, to Margaret, daughter of Florent V, Count of Holland, which was to take place in 1284. Alphonso died before the wedding, however, and the decoration of the manuscript was left incomplete. Additions were made in the early 14th century, probably before 1316. This page sparkles with gold, and features such as the scales of the large mermaid in the lower margin would originally have also sparkled with silver. But from exposure to air, the silver has now oxidised and turned almost black.

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