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The Ascension And The Martyrdom Of St. Edmund, In A Psalter

The Ascension And The Martyrdom Of St. Edmund, In A Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1250

Shelfmark: Royal MS 2 B.vi

Item number: f.10r

Length: 27.6

Width: 18.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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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. The final scene of a series depicting events from the life of Christ shows his Ascension: only his feet are still visible as he ascends to heaven. Below this is an image of the martyrdom of St. Edmund, a 9th-century East Anglian king. An Anglo-Saxon account of his death records that he was tied to a tree and shot with spears, 'until he was entirely covered with their missiles, like the bristles of a hedgehog'.

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