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Historiated Initial With The Temptation Of Christ, In A Psalter Preceded By Miniatures And A Calendar

Historiated Initial With The Temptation Of Christ, In A Psalter Preceded By Miniatures And A Calendar

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1210

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 D.x

Item number: f.52v

Length: 34.5

Width: 21.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Oxford University came into being gradually, around the year 1200, and a community of book-makers were soon established in the town, centred around the Catte Street and St. Mary's Church. Documentary records suggest that these book-makers not only provided students with the necessary textbooks, but also specialised in meeting the needs of the luxury market: a disproportionately large number of illuminators are recorded. This psalter is probably one of their products: the calendar and litany include three entries for St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. In this initial 'D' to Psalm 51, the Devil is holding some red stones in one hand, and in the other a scroll, inscribed in Latin with his suggestion that Christ should turn the stones into bread. Christ's reply is to tell him to go away!

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