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The Annunciation And The Nativity, In A Psalter

The Annunciation And The Nativity, In A Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1250

Shelfmark: Royal MS 2 B.vi

Item number: f.8r

Length: 27.6

Width: 18.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Mid 13th-century St. Albans is crucially important in the history of English illuminated manuscripts thanks primarily to the works of Matthew Paris, a monk of the abbey. Many manuscripts have been--probably wrongly--attributed to the abbey by comparison with Matthew's style and technique; this psalter is therefore important because its claim to be a St. Albans product (based on the calendar, litany, and early ownership by a St. Albans monk) is secure. As in other luxury Psalters, this one has a cycle of images preceding the main text. This series starts with the earliest moments in Christ's life: his conception and birth. In the upper scene the angel Gabriel is announcing to the Virgin Mary that she will bear a child, and in the lower scene she lies in bed, with Joseph at the foot, the infant on a pedestal-like manger, and the ox and ass looking in through the windows of the stable.

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