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The Holy Women At The Sepulchre, And The Harrowing Of Hell, In A Psalter Preceded By Miniatures And A Calendar

The Holy Women At The Sepulchre, And The Harrowing Of Hell, In A Psalter Preceded By Miniatures And A Calendar

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1210

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 D.x

Item number: f.7r

Length: 34.7

Width: 22.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Oxford University came into being gradually, around the year 1200, and a community of book-makers were soon established in the town, centred around the Catte Street and St. Mary's Church. Documentary records suggest that these book-makers not only provided students with the necessary textbooks, but also specialised in meeting the needs of the luxury market: a disproportionately large number of illuminators are recorded. This psalter is probably one of their products: the calendar and litany include three entries for St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. In the upper scene the red-faced angel (the artist's attempt to illustrate the biblical description of a face 'like lightning') points to the sleeping soldiers. In the lower scene Christ leads Adam and Eve out of a sharp-toothed hell-mouth.

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