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Marginal Drawing Of St. Kevin And The Blackbird, In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'

Marginal Drawing Of St. Kevin And The Blackbird, In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1220

Shelfmark: Royal MS 13 B.viii

Item number: f.20r

Length: 27.5

Width: 18.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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Gerald of Wales was born at Monorbier castle, in Pembrokeshire, in 1146. He was educated at Gloucester and Paris, and became Archdeacon of Brecon in 1175. He visited Ireland in 1183, 1185, 1199 and again for about two years from 1204. A version of his text--which is largely concerned with the marvellous things he saw or heard about there--is known to have been read publicly in 1188. This manuscript was written perhaps at Lincoln, probably before Gerald's death in 1223, and it has been suggested that he personally supervised its writing and decoration. This manuscript was later owned by St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.

Gerald relates a legend that once, when St. Kevin was praying, he stretched out his hands, and a blackbird landed on one, made a nest there, and laid eggs. Rather than disturb it, Kevin kept his hand still until the eggs were hatched.

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