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An angel appears to the shepherds outside Bethlehem, announcing the birth of Jesus.

An angel appears to the shepherds outside Bethlehem, announcing the birth of Jesus.

December is upon us, so it is a good opportunity to think about advent-related images in the Rylands collections. I’m Naomi Billingsley, a PhD candidate at the University of Manchester, and about this time last year I was looking through various books of engravings (my PhD is about William Blake’s religious images) and was struck by the number of Nativity-related subjects which got me thinking about the idea of showcasing seasonal images throughout December.

As I began to think about this more, I found that I had to be quite creative to find a variety of images so that we didn’t send up with lots of Nativity scenes! Throughout December, we’ll be sharing a selection of seasonal images from the collection which include different subjects and which come from different types of objects in the collections.

In this image, our first Advent posting, an angel appears to the shepherds outside Bethlehem, announcing the birth of Jesus. It is from an early sixteenth-century Book of Hours – a prayer book – which is richly decorated with miniature paintings like this one.

Naomi Billingsley, University of Manchester