Click here to skip to content

Decorated Initials, In St. Aldhelm's Treatise 'In Praise Of Virginity' f.2v

Decorated Initials, In St. Aldhelm's Treatise 'In Praise Of Virginity' f.2v

Medium: Ink on vellum

Date: 900

Shelfmark: Royal MS 5 F.iii

Item number: f.2v

Length: 23.6

Width: 16.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

St. Aldhelm (c.639-709), abbot of Malmesbury and bishop of Sherborne, has been described as 'the first Englishman who cultivated classical learning with any success'. He led a particularly austere life: it is recorded that when he was abbot he used to recite the entire Psalter standing up to his neck in ice-cold water. His main surviving work is 'In Praise Of Virginity', which he dedicated to the abbess and nuns of Barking. This manuscript of the text was in the library at Worcester Cathedral by the 17th century, and had probably been there since the early Middle Ages. Some of the earliest forms of embellishment of books include the use of enlarged initials, initials ornamented with foliage or animals, and unusual letter-forms written in enlarged script, all of which are visible here: near the top of the page a passage begins REVERENTISSIMIS, and lower down IAM DUDUM.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites

Newsletter

Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: