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A Drawing of a Building, in a Volume of Poems

A Drawing of a Building, in a Volume of Poems

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 950

Shelfmark: Royal MS 15 A.xvi

Item number: f.84r

Length: 21.2

Width: 13.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

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Containing mainly poems and treatises on verse, this manuscript is known to have belonged to the monastery of St Augustine, Canterbury, in the middle ages because of an inscription on one of its pages. Most of its pages were copied in the 9th century, almost certainly in France, but a short section in it was copied in England during the 10th and 11th centuries. The poems for the most part are religious, and the monks of St Augustine would have read the manuscript as part of their personal devotion. Those who wrote verse may have studied and imitated some of the works in it.

Blank spaces in manuscripts were, to the medieval reader, a potential site for recording notes or making study drawings. One of the pages in the manuscript was used, probably about 1030-1040, by an artist for a drawing of a building. The artist probably was not creating the image from memory or a sketching cathedral in his own environment. More likely they were copying a drawing from another manuscript. The purpose may have been to make a study: to work up the design for incorporation into another picture in a manuscript.

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