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Drawing of St Matthew, in the Tollemache Orosius

Drawing of St Matthew, in the Tollemache Orosius

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 910

Shelfmark: Additional MS 47967

Item number: f.1v

Length: 27.8

Width: 18.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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Named the Tollemache Orosius for its former owners, this manuscript presents Orosius's 'History' in an Old English translation. In the early 5th century, Orosius wrote the first Christian world history, a medieval best-seller. The Old English translation, traditionally attributed to Alfred the Great, was probably done in the 9th century. Whether or not he was the translator, the Tollemache Orosius was probably made at Winchester within a few decades of his death. Medieval flyleaves were often used as multi-purpose spaces for notes and drawings. The back of the Orosius flyleaf has a sketch after the picture of 'Matthew' (the evangelist) from the front. The artist was not simply copying the first drawing, as it differs in some details. Tracings in metalpoint of drawings on the front of the page are visible, as well as musical notations of about 1100 for a hymn beginning 'Fulgens' ('resplendent'). The binding is probably of the 15th century, its endpapers visible in this view from a roll recording payments into the exchequer, 19-20 April 1347.

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