Historiated- adj.- Adorned with the figures of humans or animals, often with foliage, and often for narrative purposes. Used especially of initial letters in manuscripts and of the capitals of columns.

I do my best to accurately credit the images I post here; however, if you see an image belonging to you that is either improperly credited or you simply do not want it on the blog, please feel free to contact me and I will edit/remove it. I don’t claim ownership of any of these images unless stated otherwise. Images may have text captions that credit the source or they may have click-through links.

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Finds from the Staffordshire Hoard, Anglo-Saxon, c. seventh century (Source).Click through the photo for an enlarged and wonderfully detailed image.

Finds from the Staffordshire Hoard, Anglo-Saxon, c. seventh century (Source).
Click through the photo for an enlarged and wonderfully detailed image.

Pyramid mounts and an inscribed strip from the Anglo-Saxon gold Staffordshire hoard, c. seventh century (Source).

Pyramid mounts and an inscribed strip from the Anglo-Saxon gold Staffordshire hoard, c. seventh century (Source).

Stylized filigree (sea)horse from the Staffordshire Hoard, Anglo-Saxon, c. seventh century (Source with more information on the object and hoard and additional photos).

Stylized filigree (sea)horse from the Staffordshire Hoard, Anglo-Saxon, c. seventh century (Source with more information on the object and hoard and additional photos).

Detail of the Dormition of the Virgin from the Syon Cope, c. 1300-20. The Syon Cope is a liturgical vestment which would have been worn by a high-ranking church official. The cope is an example of opus anglicanum, a term used to describe medieval English needlework used on both liturgical and secular clothing. Source.

Detail of the Dormition of the Virgin from the Syon Cope, c. 1300-20. The Syon Cope is a liturgical vestment which would have been worn by a high-ranking church official. The cope is an example of opus anglicanum, a term used to describe medieval English needlework used on both liturgical and secular clothing. Source.

Image of the Syon Cope laid flat. The Syon Cope, c. 1300-1320, is a liturgical vestment which would have been worn by a high-ranking church official. The cope is an example of opus anglicanum, a term used to describe medieval English needlework used on both liturgical and secular clothing. Source.

Image of the Syon Cope laid flat. The Syon Cope, c. 1300-1320, is a liturgical vestment which would have been worn by a high-ranking church official. The cope is an example of opus anglicanum, a term used to describe medieval English needlework used on both liturgical and secular clothing. Source.

Detail of the front of the Bury St. Edmund’s Cross, also known as the Cloisters Cross, with attached crucifix; walrus ivory cross c. 1140. Created by Master Hugo at Bury St. Edmund’s, England. This altar cross measures approximately twenty-two and three-quarter inches in height. Currently in the collections at the Cloisters in New York City, New York.The front of the cross depicts the cross as the Tree of Life and includes carvings at its base of Adam and Eve, in which Christ is to be interpreted as the second Adam. The central medallion, also called the Moses medallion, features a scene taken from Old Testament texts in which Moses raises a serpent on a staff, which was interpreted by medieval Christians as a typology for the crucifixion of Christ. Image taken from ARTstor.Click here to read more about the cross and its imagery and to view alternate images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online collections.

Detail of the front of the Bury St. Edmund’s Cross, also known as the Cloisters Cross, with attached crucifix; walrus ivory cross c. 1140. Created by Master Hugo at Bury St. Edmund’s, England. This altar cross measures approximately twenty-two and three-quarter inches in height. Currently in the collections at the Cloisters in New York City, New York.
The front of the cross depicts the cross as the Tree of Life and includes carvings at its base of Adam and Eve, in which Christ is to be interpreted as the second Adam. The central medallion, also called the Moses medallion, features a scene taken from Old Testament texts in which Moses raises a serpent on a staff, which was interpreted by medieval Christians as a typology for the crucifixion of Christ. Image taken from ARTstor.
Click here to read more about the cross and its imagery and to view alternate images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online collections.

Folio depicting Moses and Aaron preaching, folio 94r, from the Bury Bible, created by Master Hugo. Created at Bury St. Edmunds, England, c. 1130-35. Cambridge: Corpus Christi College MS 2 pt 1. Image taken from ARTstor.

Folio depicting Moses and Aaron preaching, folio 94r, from the Bury Bible, created by Master Hugo. Created at Bury St. Edmunds, England, c. 1130-35. Cambridge: Corpus Christi College MS 2 pt 1. Image taken from ARTstor.

Author portrait of the scribe Eadwine from the Eadwine Psalter, c. 1150, made at Christ’s Church, Canterbury, England. The Eadwine Psalter is another copy of the Utrecht Psalter created at Christ’s Church. Cambridge, Trinity College MS R. 17.1. Image taken from ARTstor. 

Author portrait of the scribe Eadwine from the Eadwine Psalter, c. 1150, made at Christ’s Church, Canterbury, England. The Eadwine Psalter is another copy of the Utrecht Psalter created at Christ’s Church. Cambridge, Trinity College MS R. 17.1. Image taken from ARTstor. 

Detail of a folio from the Harley Psalter containing the text and visual interpretations of today’s Psalm 14 (folio 7v). The Harley Psalter is an early eleventh century copy of the Utrecht Psalter, c. 816-835 CE, made at Christ’s Church, Canterbury, England. British Library Harley MS 603. Image taken from course lectures.

Detail of a folio from the Harley Psalter containing the text and visual interpretations of today’s Psalm 14 (folio 7v). The Harley Psalter is an early eleventh century copy of the Utrecht Psalter, c. 816-835 CE, made at Christ’s Church, Canterbury, England. British Library Harley MS 603. Image taken from course lectures.

'Quinity' folio from the New Minster Prayer Book, c. 1023-35, Anglo-Saxon, from Winchester, England. This inventive iconography depicts five 'figures'- the Holy Spirit, the Virgin, the Christ Child, God the Father, and Christ- and attempts to convey the unity of the traditional trinity, elaborated here into a 'quinity', the equality of each figure, and the relationships among them. At the bottom of the folio are two figures, 'ARRIVS' and 'JVDAS', on either side of a personification of Hell. Arrius was a third-century theologian who held Anti-trinitarian beliefs; he did not believe that Christ had a divine nature and therefore could not be an equal to God the Father. His beliefs were deemed heretical and he was excommunicated, conveyed pictorially in this manuscript by the association with Judas and his proximity to the hell mouth. London: British Library, MS Cotton Titus D XXVII. Image taken from course lectures.

'Quinity' folio from the New Minster Prayer Book, c. 1023-35, Anglo-Saxon, from Winchester, England. This inventive iconography depicts five 'figures'- the Holy Spirit, the Virgin, the Christ Child, God the Father, and Christ- and attempts to convey the unity of the traditional trinity, elaborated here into a 'quinity', the equality of each figure, and the relationships among them. At the bottom of the folio are two figures, 'ARRIVS' and 'JVDAS', on either side of a personification of Hell. Arrius was a third-century theologian who held Anti-trinitarian beliefs; he did not believe that Christ had a divine nature and therefore could not be an equal to God the Father. His beliefs were deemed heretical and he was excommunicated, conveyed pictorially in this manuscript by the association with Judas and his proximity to the hell mouth. London: British Library, MS Cotton Titus D XXVII. Image taken from course lectures.

Front and side views of the Alfred Jewel, Anglo-Saxon, c. 871-99. Made with gold and cloisonne enamel. Images taken from ARTstor.Click here to read more about the piece.

Front and side views of the Alfred Jewel, Anglo-Saxon, c. 871-99. Made with gold and cloisonne enamel. Images taken from ARTstor.
Click here to read more about the piece.

Folios from the Harley Psalter containing the text and visual interpretations of today’s Psalms 14 (folio 7v) and 15 (folio 8r). The Harley Psalter is an early eleventh century copy of the Utrecht Psalter, c. 816-835 CE, made at Christ’s Church, Canterbury, England. British Library Harley MS 603. Source.

Folios from the Harley Psalter containing the text and visual interpretations of today’s Psalms 14 (folio 7v) and 15 (folio 8r). The Harley Psalter is an early eleventh century copy of the Utrecht Psalter, c. 816-835 CE, made at Christ’s Church, Canterbury, England. British Library Harley MS 603. Source.

Front panel of the Franks Casket, first half of the eighth century, Northumbria, England. This rectangular Anglo-Saxon casket is made out of whale bone and features imagery from Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Germanic traditions as well as accompanying text in runic and Roman alphabets and in both Old English and Latin. Source and more information and images from the British Museum.

Front panel of the Franks Casket, first half of the eighth century, Northumbria, England. This rectangular Anglo-Saxon casket is made out of whale bone and features imagery from Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Germanic traditions as well as accompanying text in runic and Roman alphabets and in both Old English and Latin. Source and more information and images from the British Museum.

brightwork:

Scene depicting King Edward (later, the Confessor) on his deathbed surrounded by his wife, Harold Godwinson, and attendants (upper) and the preparation of the King’s body for burial (lower) from the Bayeux Embroidery, c. 1070-1080. Image taken from ARTstor.

It is interesting to note that, unlike the rest of the embroidery’s seventy-plus scenes, which read chronologically from left to right, the funeral procession carrying Edward’s body to Westminster Abbey precedes the depiction of Edward on his deathbed. The above scene is followed by the coronation of Harold Godwinson as King of England; the coronation scene features an attendant figure which points backward to this scene’s upper register. This visual direction seems to suggest that Harold was not a usurper of the English throne, but became king at Edward’s request as made on his deathbed. An alternate explanation advocates that Harold’s presence at Edward’s deathbed was not to receive a kingship bequest, but an instruction to preserve the kingdom for William of Normandy, Edward’s original chosen successor.

brightwork:

Scene depicting King Edward (later, the Confessor) on his deathbed surrounded by his wife, Harold Godwinson, and attendants (upper) and the preparation of the King’s body for burial (lower) from the Bayeux Embroidery, c. 1070-1080. Image taken from ARTstor.

It is interesting to note that, unlike the rest of the embroidery’s seventy-plus scenes, which read chronologically from left to right, the funeral procession carrying Edward’s body to Westminster Abbey precedes the depiction of Edward on his deathbed. The above scene is followed by the coronation of Harold Godwinson as King of England; the coronation scene features an attendant figure which points backward to this scene’s upper register. This visual direction seems to suggest that Harold was not a usurper of the English throne, but became king at Edward’s request as made on his deathbed. An alternate explanation advocates that Harold’s presence at Edward’s deathbed was not to receive a kingship bequest, but an instruction to preserve the kingdom for William of Normandy, Edward’s original chosen successor.