62m.—Initial capital letter “M” from Dance of Death Alphabet.details

[Picture: 62m.—Initial capital letter “M” from Dance of Death Alphabet.]
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62m.—Initial capital letter “M” from Dance of Death Alphabet.

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This decorative initial letter “M”, or drop cap, is from an alphabet designed by Hans Holbein and dating from 1523. It shows a doctor of physician in his study or laboratory, holding up a vessel. Behind him, Death (the skeleton) reaches for the doctor, with one bony hand on his shoulder and the other on the vessel. Or, possibly, Death holds the vessel: maybe it’s really an hour-glass?

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26 x 26mm (1.0 x 1.0 inches)

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tn/062-hans-holbein-1523-death-letter-m-q75-500x498.jpg

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