Once Upon a Time, in a Margin Far, Far Away (Mmm… Marginalia #53)

Nothing funny, sacrilegious, or scatological about this one, from Bodleian MS Douce 93:


No scandal, just a pretty little tree-top castle found in the margins of a fifteenth-century Dutch book of hours. The king and queen there in the turret give the whole thing a Mr. Rogers vibe that I just kind of dig. And if you’re wondering, that’s St. George a’dragon-slayin’ there in the historiated initial.

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  • Sheryl

    Wow, that is really pretty! I see where we get our modern ideas of fairy tale castles.

  • Enti

    My non-artsy-beginning-medievalist response to George's show of prowess there is "if dragons were that little *I* could have slayed one" (on reflection though, I couldn't) – is this their common size in medieval marginalia, or due simply to restraints on the size in the initial?

    And thank you for another pretty picture 🙂

  • Macaroni

    This is a beautiful manuscript! Thanks for sharing. Have you seen the Bosch-y stuff that's happening in the Last Judgment scene on fol 46v?

  • Got Medieval

    Enti– Quick answer: the size of something in a medieval picture is rarely meant to be taken literally. Often, things are made bigger because of their importance. The dragon here is only needed to identify George, thus its tininess.

  • Curmudgeon

    Are you sure it's not a castle built on the rocks we see behind the trees?

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