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Marginal Sketch Of Billingsgate And The Tower Of London, In Geoffrey Of Monmouth's 'History Of The Kings Of Britain'

Marginal Sketch Of Billingsgate And The Tower Of London, In Geoffrey Of Monmouth's 'History Of The Kings Of Britain'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1315

Shelfmark: Royal MS 13 A.iii

Item number: f.28v

Length: 17.7

Width: 10.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Geoffrey Of Monmouth (c.1100-1154) wrote completed his History it in its final form in 1147. Although it purports to be a book of historical fact, it is more a collection of ancient tales and legends, concerning, for example, King Arthur and Merlin. This manuscript has detailed pencil sketches of a number towns added in some of its margins; these are exceptionally early examples of eye-witness 'cityscapes'. Some of them seem to have been executed in two stages: first with faint grey pencil, and later with darker brown 'crayon'. The text just above the marginal sketch concerns King Belinus, who 'made a gate of wonderful structure . . . upon the bank of the Thames, which the citizens call after his name Billingsgate to this day. Over it he built a prodigiously large tower . . .'

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