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Decorated Initial, In 'The Bible Of Brother Gervase Of Bangor' f.3r

Decorated Initial, In 'The Bible Of Brother Gervase Of Bangor' f.3r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1240

Shelfmark: Additional MS 54232

Item number: f.3r

Length: 21

Width: 14.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

This is a typical mid-13th-century Bible: written in small script in two columns on very fine parchment. This style of 'pocket' Bible was developed in Paris, probably for the use of Dominicans, who needed to have a portable copy of a standardised text. This manuscript has an inscription of circa 1300, stating that it belonged to Brother Gervase of Bangor--presumably a member of the Dominican house there--and that after his death it should be bequeathed to the Franciscan house at Llanfaes, in Anglesey.

The Book of Genesis in Latin starts 'In principio . . .' (In the beginning . . .). The regular shape of the initial 'I' was convenient for medieval artists, if the scribe allowed enough space. In this case the scribe allowed only a very narrow space (the first 24 lines are slightly indented, so the artist's options were limited, but he extended the initial almost to the bottom of the column.

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