ST AUGUSTINE (354-430). Enarrationes in Psalmos, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
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ST AUGUSTINE (354-430). Enarrationes in Psalmos, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

ST AUGUSTINE (354-430). Enarrationes in Psalmos, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Lambach Abbey, Upper Austria, second half 12th century]
With initials by Gottschalk.
333 x 225mm. 279 leaves: 16(of 8, lacking i and ii), 2-198, 203(of 4, iv cancelled blank), 21-358, 366(of 8, vii and viii cancelled blanks), two sequences of quire signatures in lower case roman numerals survive on some final versos, for example 'vi' on f.38v, 'vii' on f.46v, 'xi' on 78v, 'iii' on 169v, 35 lines in brown ink in a romanesque bookhand by two scribes between two pairs of scored verticals and on 35 scored horizontals, top and bottom pairs ruled across margins, justification: 250 x 160mm, rubrics in orange-red, large initials from f.162 of orange-red, FORTY-SIX LARGE FOLIATE INITIALS in orange-red and purple penwork, EIGHTEEN OF THEM INHABITED WITH BIRDS, AND THREE INCLUDING FIGURES, in addition TWO STANDING FIGURES in the same technique, plummet preparatory drawing sometimes visible (strip cut from outer margin of final folio, opening folio darkened and spotting to outer margin, and marginal mark on verso).


CONTEMPORARY TAWED SKIN OVER THICK BEECH BOARDS sewn on three double thongs, with perimeter-sewn tabs at head and foot of spine, remains of two pins in edge of lower cover and grooves from clasp straps at edge of upper cover, two brass catches at edge of upper cover and clasp straps on lower, medieval vellum title and shelf-mark labels on upper cover, the shelf-mark 'B.41.' in red ink, a paper label at top of spine, later paper pastedowns two bifolia from a 15th-century Austrian manuscript giving abbreviated incipits for masses in the sanctoral (lacking one clasp, upper board wormed and weak, lower board slightly wormed and with mark from chain hasp, corners rubbed, upper joint split at foot with 15th-century repair of inserted vellum). Brown morocco-backed box.



1. Lambach Abbey, the Benedictine abbey of Sts Mary and Kylian to the north-east of Salzburg, founded about 1056 by St Adalbero of Würzburg. The press-mark label on the upper cover is characteristic of Lambach books: A.C. de la Mare, Catalogue of the collection of medieval manuscripts bequeathed to the Bodleian Library, Oxford by James P.R. Lyell (1971), pl.XXXa, and E. Hainische Die Kunstdenkmäler des Gerichtsbezirkes Lambach, Österreichische Kunsttopographie, XXXIV (1959). In fact this manuscript can be identified as the second volume of the six-volume set of Augustine's commentary on the Psalms, rebound in five volumes in the 15th century, that was listed in the inventory of the Lambach library compiled at the end of the 12th or early in the 13th century: K. Holter, 'Zwei Lambacher Bibliothekverzeichnisse des 13 Jahrhunderts', Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, LXIV (1956), p.273. The present manuscript, given the shelfmark xviii in the 18th century, was still in Lambach in 1924 when it was seen by Hans Gerstinger who described it in his unpublished notes now deposited in the ÖNB in Vienna (Ms ser.n.9713).

2. Sotheby's 11 November 1929, lot 389: although Lambach is still a functioning Benedictine abbey, manuscripts from its library have been sold on various occasions from the 1920s, and the present manuscript, with three other volumes from Lambach, was sold in 1929. It was not identified as from Lambach. Three of the other four volumes of the set of Augustine's commentary to which this volume belongs are now Leutkirch, Waldburg-Zeilisches Gesamtarchiv Zms 5 (1st volume, Pss 1-50), Frankfurt Stadt- und Universitätbibliothek Ms Lat.qu.64 (4th volume, originally vols 4 and 5, Pss 118-133), Yale, Beinecke Library Ms 699 (final volume, Pss 134-150): see K. Holter, 'Mittelalterliche Buchkunst in Lambach', in 900 Jahre Klosterkirche Lambach, ex. cat. 1989, pp.56-57 & pp.205-208.

3. Katalog von Graupe, Berlin 1935, no 144

4. Sotheby's 3 June 1946, lot 188


St Augustine's commentary on Psalms 51-100, entitled here Expositio b[ea]ti Augustini sup[er] s[e]c[un]da q[ui]nquag[esi]ma ps[alm]is, but known from the time of Erasmus as Enarrationes in Psalmos, ff.1-279v: Migne 36, 601-37 to 1293 (lacking slightly less than two columns from the beginning of Psalm 51 cf PL).

The commentary on the Psalms, composed over a long period, was both the most extensive and most influential of Augustine's exegetical works; it came to be regarded as an essential component of a monastic library. Because it was so vast it was usual for it to be copied, as at Lambach, in several volumes: A. Wilmart, 'La tradition des grands ouvrages de Saint Augustin', Miscellanea Agostiniana. Testi e studi.. (1931). The two surviving booklists from Lambach reveal the extent of the Abbey's 12th-century holdings. One records the books in the school library, the other the patristic, exegetical and liturgical manuscripts. It has been suggested that the books necessary for their liturgical duties had been produced by the monks of Lambach by the third quarter of the 12th century so that they then turned their attention to the creation of a theological library: 'The large number of patristic, exegetical and theological texts in the twelfth-century Lambach library indicates that the abbey was becoming at that time a regional centre for advanced theological studies'. The present manuscript would have been part of this campaign of production; it was one of the few patristic works specifically prescribed in the Lambach Customary for reading by the monks, and the set of which this is the second volume has been described as the greatest achievement of the Lambach scriptorium: R.G. Babcock, Reconstructing a Medieval Library, Fragments from Lambach (1993).


One figure dominates manuscript production at Lambach during the second half of the 12th century: the scribe and artist identified as Gottschalk from the ownership inscription in a manuscript in Berlin (Staatsbib., Ms The range and significance of his activity has recently been summarised thus: 'Gottschalk appears to have served the Lambach abbey in a number of capacities, perhaps including librarian, cantor, schoolmaster, scribe and artist. He had a hand in the original texts composed at the abbey during the 1190s... His artistic talent was clearly admired by other houses, to which the manuscripts created for Kremsmünster, Garsten and Melk testify. He was also an accomplished poet and musician, composing rhymed verse and revising liturgical melodies.': L.F. Davis, The Gottschalk Antiphonary: The Lambach Scriptorium in the late twelfth century (2000), p.26.

The delightful orange and purple penwork initials of this volume of Augustine are characteristic and extremely fine examples of the work of this artist. The features that have been isolated as distinguishing his style from that of his followers are all found here -- stem bands with rows of circles, the ring-like buds or berries, halos outlined with circles, red dots on cheeks etc: R.G. Babcock and L.F. Davis, 'Two Romanesque Manuscripts from Lambach', Codices Manuscripti, 8 (1990), p.138. And in her recent study Dr Davis, on the basis of the 1929 catalogue illustrations, included this codex amongst those listed as illuminated by Gottschalk himself: The Gottschalk Antiphonary, p.25. The figures of Solomon and Ecclesia, each serving as a letter 'I', have a claim to be regarded as some of his finest initials. Each of them engaging and direct while appropriate to the titulus or incipit of the texts they open.

The initials with figures are:

f.15 'E' with a kneeling young man, his hands outstretched towards the text
f.30 'M' with Christ seated, one arm through an initial stave and displaying the palms of his hands
f.47 'C' a half-length tonsured saint holding a crosier
f.57 'I' in the form of a standing figure of Ecclesia crowned and holding a chalice and a scroll
f.124v 'I' in the form of a standing figure of Solomon crowned and holding a flabellum and orb

The initials with birds or beasts are on folios 2v, 14, 28v, 33v, 42v, 47v, 57v, 63v, 68v, 86v, 87, 99v, 104v, 120, 137v, 143v, 147v and 154

The foliate initials are on folios 7, 7v, 10, 11v, 22, 23v, 29, 34v, 39v, 44, 49v (2), 58v, 63v, 69v, 74v, 75, 81v, 98v, 109v, 113, 130, 136v, 143, 159
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