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Decorated Initials, In St. Aldhelm's Treatise 'In Praise Of Virginity' f.35r

Decorated Initials, In St. Aldhelm's Treatise 'In Praise Of Virginity' f.35r

Medium: Ink on vellum

Date: 900

Shelfmark: Royal MS 5 F.iii

Item number: f.35r

Length: 23.7

Width: 17.7

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. The opening initials 'SE' on this page are distinguished from most of those in the rest of the book by the use of touches of yellowish and reddish-orange inks or pigments.

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