Medium: Tempera on parchment
Location: British Library, London.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four calling birds...
Four Calling birds represent the Four Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke & John. This image, from an illuminated manuscript held at the British Library, London, is of the Christ in Glory, surrounded by traditional images depicting the Four Evangelists. Matthew, the author of the first gospel account is symbolized by a winged man, or angel. Mark, author of the second gospel account is symbolized by a winged lion – a figure of courage and monarchy. Luke, author of the third gospel account (and the Acts of the Apostles) is symbolized by a winged ox or bull – a figure of sacrifice, service and strength. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel is symbolized by an eagle – a figure of the sky, and believed to be able to look straight into the sun.