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A page from 4 Kings, in the Ceolfrid Bible

A page from 4 Kings, in the Ceolfrid Bible

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 705

Shelfmark: Additional MS 45025

Item number: f.11r

Length: 38.9

Width: 28.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Outstanding in the early Christianity of Anglo-Saxon England, the twin monastery of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow maintained direct connections with Rome under its founding abbot, Benedict Biscop, and his successor, Ceolfrid. Biscop and Ceolfrid fostered religious practices and art modelled on those of Roman monasteries, including high-level Bible study and assembly of an excellent library. Under Ceolfrid, the scribes of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow created three large-format, single-volume copies of the best Latin edition of the Bible, writing them in the script and style of Rome. In 716, Ceolfrid set out to take one of them, the 'Codex Amiatinus', as a gift to Pope Gregory II. This page comes from another copy, known as the 'Ceolfrid Bible', which survives only in fragments of 3 and 4 Kings. During the 16th century, its leaves were used as covers of the 16th-century documents of the lands of the Willoughby family at Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire.

This page has 4 Kings 21 and is in relatively good condition, missing only a strip from its lower edge. It gives an impression of the grandeur of the large pages of the Ceolfrid Bible and of the elegance and clarity of its script and layout.

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