London, South Kensington
15 November 2013
DAVID IN PRAYER, historiated initial 'D' on a leaf from THE FERIAL PSALTER OF JOHANNES VI SCHROTT, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Abbey of St Ulrich and St Afra, Augsburg] 1518. 345 x 245mm. 23 lines of text, rubrics in red, text capitals in red and green, the initial in grey with white acanthus decoration on a gold ground framed in red, depicting David in prayer, all within a full border of fruits and flowers, inhabited by animals, putti and a Benedictine abbot kneeling before Sts Ulrich (holding a fish) and Afra (burning at the stake), with St Simpert of Augsburg (with wolf and child) standing behind (small tear, rubbing, and some wear to the lower margin). Provenance: 'Ioannes Abbas 1518', inscribed in gold on a blue banderole in the upper margin; the abbot depicted in the lower margin. Given the presence of the three Augsburg saints, the intact manuscript was doubtless made for Johannes VI Schrott, abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg from 1510-27.
The initial opens Psalm 110, 'Dixit Dominus Domino meo', the verso carries the beginning of Psalm 111. The crowded composition with its cascading putti and the bright palette of greens and reds is characterstic of southern German illumination of the early 16th century. The abbey of St Ulrich and Afra ran its own scriptorium and was particularly prolific throughout the 16th century. After its dissolution in 1806, the vast majority of its books and manuscripts were transferred to the Staats- und Stadtbibliothek in Augsburg.
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