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Historiated Initial With Hannah And Elkanah In The Temple, In 'The Bible Of William Of Hales'

Historiated Initial With Hannah And Elkanah In The Temple, In 'The Bible Of William Of Hales'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1254

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 B.xii

Item number: f.84v

Length: 30.7

Width: 19.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A colophon records that this Bible was written in 1254 by William of Hales (perhaps from Hailes, in Gloucestershire?) for Thomas de la Wile, who had been called by the chancellor of Salisbury to be in charge of the Salisbury schools. The text was copied from a 12th-century Bible still in Salisbury cathedral library. In the mid 13th century the city was an important centre of scholarship, and a number of fine illuminated manuscripts (probably produced there) can be attributed to the artist of the present manuscript, the so-called 'Sarum Master'. The Book of I Samuel begins with an account of Elkananh and his barren wife Hannah: in the initial 'F' he is shown before the altar at which he made offerings every year, while she is depicted with a typical hand-wringing medieval gesture of dismay.

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