Friday, February 10, 2012

A Page From The Sherborne Missal

John Whas, Main Scribe
John Siferwas, Primary Artist
The Sherborne Missal: Feast Of The Assumption Of The Virgin Mary
Completed No Later Than 1507
The British Library, London

21 3/4 Inches By 15 3/8 Inches
Ink, Pigments And Gold On Vellum


The largest and most-lavishly-decorated late Medieval service book to have survived The Reformation, The Sherborne Missal is one of the world’s great treasures. The Sherborne Missal was created between 1496 and 1507 by a host of scribes and artists working in or near Salisbury—and the names of the principal scribe and principal artist have been preserved, as they identified themselves in the book through text and art.

The Sherborne Missal is rendered in The International Gothic Style because The Renaissance was significantly late in arriving in Britain—and in no field was this as true as in the field of painting. Despite the fact that German painter Hans Holbein The Younger, a painter purely of The Renaissance, worked frequently in Britain in the early 16th Century, The Renaissance was to gain little ground in Britain until after the passing of Henry VIII in 1547. This explains why The Sherborne Missal was almost 200 years behind the artistic currents of the era in which it was created.

Despite its status as an anachronistic work, The Sherborne Missal remains a supreme work of art. It is one of the crown jewels of the rare-book collection on permanent display at The British Library.

We last saw The Sherborne Missal in September 2007.

It was Joshua’s first encounter with The Sherborne Missal.

Josh was overwhelmed.

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