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Martyrdom of St Andrew, in the Salvin Hours

Martyrdom of St Andrew, in the Salvin Hours

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1275

Shelfmark: Additional MS 48985

Item number: f.54r

Length: 32

Width: 20.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Named for its 17th- to early 20th-century owners, the Salvin Hours is one of the largest and most richly decorated English books of hours. Its decoration, created by two artists, resembles contemporary wall paintings in the Oxford area, suggesting that it was made in a workshop there. Its original owner probably was a high-status person living in Lincoln because it also resembles 13th-century books of hours associated with that city. It lacks a calendar, which would have helped to locate its original place of use because it would have listed saints' feasts special to a particular place. This page has prayers for the first hour of the day (matins) in the Hours of the Holy Spirit, a set of meditations included in some English 13th century manuscripts. The Salvin Hours, instead of showing scenes from the life of Christ as it does for the Hours of the Virgin, depicts the lives of saints as the devotional focus. The prayers for matins, recited before daybreak, open with the first letter bearing a picture of the martyrdom of St Andrew. As in the scenes of the Passion of Christ in the Hours of the Virgin, the Salvin Hours artist contrasts the beautiful idealised St Andrew with the ugly caricatures who nail him to the cross.

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