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Marginal Sketch Of Colchester, In Geoffrey Of Monmouth's 'History Of The Kings Of Britain'

Marginal Sketch Of Colchester, 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.47v

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'. This section of Geoffrey's narrative concerns Coel, duke of Colchester (Coel-chester), who defeated killed the king of Britain in battle. The sketch shows a walled town with a church set off at some distance, perhaps St. Botulph's.

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