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Inhabited Initial L
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Inhabited Initial L

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Enlarged initials filled with humans or animals are known as "inhabited initials," and they tend to be playful rather than illustrations of the text. On this page, two armored soldiers scale the initial L at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel. One hoists the other up on his shoulders, perhaps offering his companion a better view of the angel on the opposite page. While fun, these types of images were also useful, since they visually marked sections of text.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • From Romanesque to Gothic: Illumination in Transition. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1990.
  • Illuminating the Word: Gospel Books in the Middle Ages. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2004.
  • Checkmate! Medieval People at Play. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010.
Provenance Leon Gruel, Paris, late 19th century; Henry Walters, Baltimore, after 1894 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, after 1894

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ca. 1100 (Medieval)
parchment with ink and paint
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 11 1/4 x W: 9 3/16 in. (28.6 x 23.3 cm)
  • Spain (Place of Origin)
  • France (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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