St Margaret’s Gospel lectionary

This was the favourite book of Margaret, an eleventh-century queen of Scotland. It is a gospel lectionary – that is, a selection of passages from the Gospels. Each of the four series of extracts is preceded by a beautifully illuminated page containing the first words of the relevant gospel and a miniature of the evangelist. Small (with just thirty-eight pages) and therefore portable, it was a book for everyday devotion. Renowned for her piety and good works, and for the civilizing influence she had on matters of politics and religion, Margaret was canonized in 1249-50. While she was crossing a ford one of her retinue unwittingly dropped this gospel-book into the water. Sometime later the book was found miraculously unharmed.



Miniatures, borders, initials

In Latin, on parchment; thirty-eight leaves, 172 x 111 mm

Bound by Christopher Clarkson at the Bodleian, 1993: white tawed calfskin over wooden boards