THREE ILLUMINATED LEAVES from a Psalter, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[East Anglia, c.1330]
340 x 232, 327 x 230, 355 x 235mm, 38 lines in two columns written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand between four verticals and 39 horizontals ruled across central margin, additional double horizontal ruling at foot of each page, 15th-century marginal additions, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, one-line initials and paragraph marks alternately in red and blue (guide letters still visible), two-line initials in blue flourished in red and with infills of red reserving patterns of unpainted parchment, THREE LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS with staves of pink and blue patterned with white and lighter pink and blue, with foliate, interlace or beasthead infills on burnished gold, on grounds of red, pink, blue and burnished gold leading to THREE BAR BORDERS with terminals of flowers, vine leaves, trefoils and disks (all outer vertical margins nibbled into corners, some rubbing of borders). Mounted on paper surrounds to display versos, 400 x 240mm. Red cloth portfolio by E. Vaughan.
1. The style of the illumination suggests that the manuscript was made in East Anglia. Its imposing size makes it likely that it was intended for use in a church or religious community rather than by an individual.
2. Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825-1889): English church musician, scholar and composer. He was founder of St Michael's College, Tenbury. These leaves were in the library there.
CONTENT AND ILLUMINATION:
i) Psalms 1-7, breaking in verse 12; ii) Ps. 25, opening in verse 3 to Ps. 30, breaking in verse 14; iii) Ps. 37 opening in verse 5 to Ps. 40. The leaves were preserved for the large initials opening Psalms 1, 26 and 38 which were, as customary, especially illuminated to mark three of the eight divisions of the Psalter. The exceptional large size and two-column format of these leaves show that they were once part of an impressive volume, comparable in lay-out and scale to prestigious East Anglian Psalters of the first decades of the 14th century, for example the Peterborough Psalter (Brussels, KBR, Ms 9961-2) and the Arundel Psalter (BL, Arundel 83 I). The style also indicates an origin in East Anglia for the illumination is a late example of the style associated with the Stowe Breviary, British Library, Ms Stowe 12, localised to the diocese of Norwich and dated 1322-25, and with the Psalter of Walter of Rouceby, Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms Barlow 22, made for Peterborough Abbey between 1321 and 1338 (see L. Freeman Sandler, Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 5, Gothic Manuscripts 1285-1385, esp.I, pls.200-3, II, pp.86-7). (3)