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A Man Fighting A Lion, In The 'Alphonso' Psalter

A Man Fighting A Lion, In The 'Alphonso' Psalter

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1284

Shelfmark: Additional MS 24686

Item number: f.18v

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. An intriguing and not satisfactorily explained feature of the marginal imagery in this and other luxury Psalters is the emphasis on combat: between men, animals, hybrids, monsters, or combinations of these. Here a man with buckler and sword defends himself from a lion, while a bird sits nearby on the leaves of an oak tree, with acorns.

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