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Inhabited Initial and Border Decoration, In 'The Bible Of William Of Hales'

Inhabited Initial and Border Decoration, In 'The Bible Of William Of Hales'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1254

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 B.xii

Item number: f.153v

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'. In the initial 'F' a mermaid holds a fish in one hand, and a knife in the other; in the extension of the initial a hooded archer prepares to shoot an owl. Neither image had any clear connection with the text, and is therefore perhaps purely 'ornamental'.

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