Illuminated Manuscript, The Rochester Bible, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.18, fol.149v, originally uploaded by Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts.
Initial "S" opening the Second Epistle of St. Peter the Apostle.
This large-format copy of the New Testament was created at, and for, Rochester Cathedral in Rochester, England in the first half of the twelfth century. The manuscript is an important survival, for it is one part of what is believed to be the the earliest decorated Bible produced at the priory scriptorium at Rochester. Originally a five volume work, only one other volume, British Library, Royal I.C.VII., has survived. The book's large size indicates it was designed to be read aloud, either during services or at meals. Large, fanciful initials filled with foliage, dragons, and human faces begin each section of the text, and their vibrant color and intricate designs capture the essence of Romanesque manuscript illumination.