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Decorated Prologue Initial, In The Four Gospels

Decorated Prologue Initial, In The Four Gospels

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 930

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 A.xviii

Item number: f.66r

Length: 25.5

Width: 17.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This manuscript was written by a Continental scribe, probably in France. A flyleaf inscription, probably written in the 16th century but imitating 11th-century English script, is perhaps a copy of a now-lost inscription, that states that the book was given by King Athelstan (reigned 927-939) to St Augustine's abbey, Canterbury. If the inscription is to be believed, this manuscript represents an example of foreign book-decoration that native artists could have seen and assimilated into their own work In medieval Bibles it was normal for each book to be preceded by one or more prologues, traditionally attributed to St Jerome. This initial 'M' follows immediately on from the end of Matthew, and introduces one of the common prologues to the Gospel of Mark.

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