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Decorated Initial As Evidence Of Scribal Practice, In 'The Goda Gospels'

Decorated Initial As Evidence Of Scribal Practice, In 'The Goda Gospels'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1050

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 D.iii

Item number: f.139v

Length: 31.7

Width: 20.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This copy of the Four Gospels belonged to and was probably written for Goda (c.1009-1055), sister of King Edward the Confessor, as is shown by an added ownership inscription of Rochester Cathedral, which states that it had been hers. It was written by two scribes and the decoration was never completed, which may suggest that it was produced in haste. The way in which the tail of this initial 'H' curves through the middle of words ('virgi-nitatis', and 'di-lectus') suggests either that the scribe had sketched out the planned shape of the initial before he wrote these words; or, more likely, that he executed the initial before writing those lines of text.

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