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Decorated Initial At The Start Of Mark, In The Four Gospels

Decorated Initial At The Start Of Mark, In The Four Gospels

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 930

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 A.xviii

Item number: f.68v

Length: 25.8

Width: 18

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. This initial 'I' at the start of the Gospel of Mark extends the full height of the text, and was clearly anticipated by the scribe, because he indented his text to the right in order to allow enough space.

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