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Historiated Initials, In The Prayerbook Of Duke Humfrey Of Gloucester f.84v

Historiated Initials, In The Prayerbook Of Duke Humfrey Of Gloucester f.84v

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1440

Shelfmark: Royal MS 2 B.i

Item number: f.84v

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. These four initials (D, D, G, and C) introduce prayers to the Virgin Mary, and show her in different guises: with the angel Gabriel; with the Dove of the Holy Spirit; crowned as Queen of Heaven; and with the Christ Child.

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