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England, Winchester, Cathedral Priory of St. Swithin, ca. 1160–80
Described as the finest English painting of the twelfth century, this is the Morgan's most important single leaf. The Winchester Bible, the largest and finest English Romanesque Bible, was begun about 1160 but never finished. Four full-page drawings by the Apocrypha Master were executed; two remain in the refectory Bible. The only painted leaf (1170s) is this one, the masterpiece of the Master of the Morgan Leaf. It prefaced the Book of Samuel and depicts in each tier: Saul Watching David Slay Goliath, Saul Hurling a Spear at David and Samuel Anointing David, and Joab Killing Absalom and David Mourning the Death of His Young Son. The Morgan Master simplified the drawing by reducing the number of feet (of both horses and men).
Source: The Morgan Library and Museum
Lower left panel referenced on p.9, ELI 009, The Normans by D. Nicolle
'The Death of Absalom', in a painted Bible probably made in Winchester, Hampshire c. 1150-75. Note the clearly painted details: the high saddle with twin girths; the hauberks with mittens and ventails or coifs; the round-topped helmet (left) with a nasal and with painted motifs; the so-called 'Phrygian cap' version of the nasal helmet (centre), with its forward tilting shape perhaps indicating extra thickness of metal at the front; and the kite shield painted in chevrons. Several other scenes from the life of David on this same page all show knights in either round-topped or 'Phrygian cap'-shaped helmets; other shield patterns include diagonal 'bends' and two-colour chequers set diamond-fashion on the shield. (Pierpont Morgan Library, M.619 verso, New York)
Referenced on pp65-6, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
147A-B 'Life of David', Hampshire, 1150-75
(Pierpont Morgan Library, Ms. 619, New York, United States)
A - Israelite; B - Goliath. This famous manuscript page was almost certainly illuminated in Winchester. Goliath (A) wears straightforward European equipment with the new high-domed helmet and nasal. The pattern on his legs indicates fabric, not mail. No distinction is drawn between Israelites and Philistines except that a minority of the former still have pointed helmets with forward-angled crowns (B).