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Jerome(?) Writing, And Pairs Of Friars, In The Bible Of William Of Devon

Jerome(?) Writing, And Pairs Of Friars, In The Bible Of William Of Devon

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1265

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 D.i

Item number: f.1r

Length: 31.2

Width: 19.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This Bible is important for two reasons. First, it is beautifully written and signed by its English scribe, William of Devon, which is rare in the 13th century. Second, the illumination represents the first clear example of a wave of French (primarily Parisian) influence that played an important part in the development of English art from about the 1260s onwards. This influence manifested itself both in terms of style (for example the adoption of so-called 'broad fold' draperies), and iconography: the Psalm initials in the present Bible are almost entirely dependent on French rather than English traditions. Standing on pedestals are pairs of friars, identifiable by their habits as Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, and Trinitarians. By 1260 the first three orders were established in Oxford, the probable centre in which the manuscript was made. It seems logical that if artists emigrated to England from France's main university city, that should establish themselves in the main book-producing university town.

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