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Historiated Initial With St. Luke And His Symbol, In A Glossed Gospels

Historiated Initial With St. Luke And His Symbol, In A Glossed Gospels

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1250

Shelfmark: Royal MS 3 E.viii

Item number: f.158r

Length: 43.5

Width: 27

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The books of the Bible had received standardised sets of glosses (interpretations and explanations) during the 12th-century, and these continued to be copied and studied in the 13th century. As is typical in such books, the biblical text is written in larger, more formal, script and the gloss is written in smaller script to either side and between the lines. This volume containing the glossed Gospels forms part of a set which was owned by the 'Preaching Friars' (i.e. Dominicans) of London: they were established in about 1221 at Holborn, and moved to Ludgate in about 1275. The prologue to Luke has an initial containing a representation of St. Luke standing on his symbol: a winged ox. In the margin to the right is a faint sketch of a winged ox; presumably a cue to remind the artist what to paint here.

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