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Illuminated Initial, In A Glossed Gospels

Illuminated Initial, In A Glossed Gospels

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1280

Shelfmark: Royal MS 3

Item number: ff.225v-226r

Length: 43.6

Width: 55.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A cornerstone of biblical study in medieval monasteries were various commentaries on, and interpretations of, the books of the Bible. A standard gloss was developed in the 12th century, which continued to be copied in the 13th century and beyond. The present manuscript is such a manuscript, owned by the Cistercian abbey of Jervaulx by the late Middle Ages. Its luxurious high quality production suggests, however, that it was not made at the abbey, because Cistercian rules forbade such opulence. This double -page opening, with an illuminated initial 'H' at the start of the prologue to John, demonstrates the great extravagance of its wide empty margins, and shows that way in which the biblical text is written in large formal script in a central column, with the gloss in smaller script to either side, and sometimes between the lines.

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