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Decorated Initial To Luke's Gospel, In 'The Thorney Gospels'

Decorated Initial To Luke's Gospel, In 'The Thorney Gospels'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1000

Shelfmark: Additional MS 40000

Item number: f.48r

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This Gospel Book was written on the Continent in the 10th century, but reached England fairly soon thereafter, as shown by textual additions ranging in date from the 10th to the 15th century, which relate to Thorney Abbey, in the Fenlands between Peterborough and Wisbech. The first letter of Luke's gospel in latin ("Quoniam quidem") is written as an elaborate design of circles, arcs and curving patterns. Its style differs markedly from contemporary English decoration. The handwriting following is based on the clear, regular and dignified script developed under the rule of Charlemagne and inspired scripts in Anglo-Saxon England. In the upper right corner of the text, drypoint (stylus without ink) inscriptions in Old English can be seen. At the right edge of the page, a tiny note indicates that this part of the gospel was read aloud during services on Christmas Eve.

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