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Historiated Initial With The Madonna And Child, In The Prayerbook Of Duke Humfrey Of Gloucester

Historiated Initial With The Madonna And Child, In The Prayerbook Of Duke Humfrey Of Gloucester

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1440

Shelfmark: Royal MS 2 B.i

Item number: f.76v

Length: 24.3

Width: 15.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester (d. 1447) was the youngest brother of King Henry V (d.1422). He was a lover of books, and founded what subsequently became the Bodleian Library, Oxford. This manuscript was his own prayerbook, as shown by the inclusion of his heraldry, and by his ownership inscription on the final page. The text is similar to that of a psalter (having a calendar, psalms, litany, etc.), but is unusual because it contains only a selection of the 150 psalms. A common text in Books of Hours is the Seven Penitential Psalms; here instead there is a selection of seven psalms in honour of the Virgin Mary. The initial 'C' shows her wearing the crown of heaven, holding the Christ Child.

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