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The Blinding Of Tobit, In The Bible Of William Of Devon

The Blinding Of Tobit, 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.215r

Length: 31.4

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. This historiated initial 'T' introduces the apocryphal book of Tobit, in which he loses his eyesight: 'And as he was sleeping, hot dung out of a swallow's nest fell upon his eyes, and he was made blind' (2:11). With him is the archangel Raphael, who was instrumental in restoring his sight.

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