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Thieves Breaking into the Burial Church of St. Edmund
Abbo of Fleury and Osbert of Clare, Life, Passion, and Miracles of St. Edmund, in Latin
Illuminated by the Alexis Master and assistant
England, Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, ca. 1130
274 x 187 mm
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1927; MS M.736 (fol. 18v)
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One of the earliest illustrated biographies of an English saint, this lavish volume was a testimonial to patron saint and abbey alike. Most miniatures are based on the passion text of Abbo of Fleury (945–1004); the posthumous miracles depend on Osbert of Clare's text, composed for Anselm shortly before this manuscript was made. In this image, eight thieves are miraculously paralyzed when they attempt to break into Edmund's burial place. The miniatures are attributed to the Alexis Master, founder of the St. Albans school. Named after his St. Alexis cycle in the St. Albans Psalter, he skillfully combined Anglo-Saxon, Ottonian, and Byzantine influences to create England's earliest Romanesque style.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.