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Detailed record for Harley 2904

Title Psalter (the 'Ramsey Psalter' or 'Psalter of Oswald'), in the Gallican version, with a litany (ff. 209-211) followed by prayers (ff. 211-214)
Origin England, S. (Winchester or Ramsey)
Date Last quarter of the 10th century
Language Latin
Script Caroline minuscule
Artists The artist of the Crucifixion miniature, who must have travelled, contributed to the decoration of Harley 2506 and Orléans Bibl. Mun. MS 175, both from Fleury, Boulogne Bibl. Mun. MS 11 (the Boulogne Gospels) from St Bertin, and the related New York, Pierpont Morgan Lib. MS 827 (the Anhalt-Morgan Gospels).
Decoration Full-page tinted drawing of the Crucifixion (f. 3v). Very large initials in colours and gold at the beginning of Psalms 1 and 101 (ff. 4, 125). Large initials in gold at the beginning of the other Psalms, some with red pen-flourishing. Smaller initials in gold at the beginning of each verse. Rubrics in red. Psalm numbers in red.
Dimensions in mm 335 x 250 (230 x 155)
Official foliation ff. 214 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1984.
Provenance Either Winchester: the evidence of the decoration and textual features, including the way initials are used to mark Psalm divisions (Ps. 77.40 division is only found in other Winchester volumes (see Wormald, 1965): Cotton Vitellius E XVIII, Cotton Tiberius C VI, Stowe 2 and Arundel 60); and an identification of the scribe with that of Cambridge, Sidney Sussex College, MS 100 (ii), also probably from Winchester (Bishop, 1971);
Or possibly the Benedictine abbey of Sts Mary and Benedict, Ramsey, Huntingdonshire: the litany contains a triple invocation to Benedict, indicating a house dedicated to him (Ramsey was the only monastery in England dedicated to St Benedict at the time the manuscript was made); perhaps made for Oswald, founder of Ramsey abbey, bishop of Worcester, and archbishop of York from 972 to 992: mentioned in Ramsey's 14th-century catalouge as a 'Psalter of St Oswald' (see Gameson 1996).
Thomas Powell: his name inscribed in a 16th-century hand on a fragment of parchment pasted onto f. 214v.
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d.1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes English saints in the litany include: Alban, Oswald, Kenelm, Edmund, Ethelbert, Cuthbert, Guthlac, Wilfred, John of Beverley, Chad, Erkonwald, Swithun, Birinus, Judoc, Machutus, Etheldreda, Sexburg, Withburg, and Werburg.
The script of the Ramsey Psalter formed the basis of Edward Johnston's 'foundational hand' which inspired a renewal in 20th-century calligraphy.
Harley 2904 was conserved under the adopt-a-book appeal by Janet Backhouse in memory of her colleague D.H. Turner (1931-1985).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts, in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2904.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Illustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 4.

Edward Maunde Thompson, English Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Kegan Paul, 1895), p. 23, pl. 6.

George Frederic Warner, Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Museum, Series I-IV (London: British Museum, 1903), pls 7, 8.

Christopher Wordsworth and Henry Littlehales, The Old Service-Books of the English Church, 2nd edn (London: Methuen & Co., 1910), p. 109.

John Alexander Herbert, Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Methuen, 1911), p. 116.

Schools of Illumination: Reproductions from Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (London: British Museum, 1914-1930), I: Hiberno-Saxon and Early English Schools A. D. 700-1100, pls 9, 10.

[John Alexander Herbert], British Museum: Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series 2, 3rd edn (London: British Museum, 1923), pls 4-5.

[John Alexander Herbert], Illuminatated Manuscripts and Bindings of Manuscripts Exhibited in the Grenville Library, Guide to the Exhibited Manuscripts, 3 (Oxford: British Museum, 1923), no. 9.

Eric. G. Millar, English Illuminated Manuscripts from the Xth to the XIIIth Century (Paris: Van Oest, 1926), p. 73, pls 10, 11.

Guide to an Exhibition of English Art gathered from Various Departments and held in the Prints and Drawings Gallery (London: British Museum, 1934), no. 77.

Charles Niver, ‘The Psalter in the British Museum, Harley 2904’, in Medieval Studies in Memory of A. Kingsley Porter, ed. by Wilhelm Reinhold Walter Koehler (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1939), II, pp. 667-87.

The Monastic Breviary of Hyde Abbey, Winchester: MSS. Rawlinson Liturg. e. 1*, and Gough Liturg. 8, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, ed. by J. B. L. Tolhurst, Henry Bradshaw Society, LXV-LXXX, 6 vols (London: Henry Bradshaw Society, 1932-1942), 6, p. 241.

Francis Wormald, ‘The Survival of Anglo-Saxon Illumination after the Norman Conquest’ Proceedings of the British Academy, 30 (1944), 129-30.

Edward Johnston, Writing, Illuminating and Lettering (London: Pitman, 1946), pp. 377-79, pl. VIII.

David Talbot Rice, English Art 871-1100, Oxford History of English Art, 2 (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1952), pp. 162, 208ff, 217, pls 73a, 74a.

Francis Wormald, English Drawings of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (London: Faber, 1952), no. 36, pp. 29, 32, 33, 36, 41, 46, 50-52, 70, 71, 73.

Charles Reginald Dodwell, The Canterbury School of Illumination 1066-1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954), p. 10.

Margaret Rickert, Painting in Britian: The Middle Ages (London: Penguin, 1954), pp. 39, 40-41, pls 21B, 30.

Cecilia Sisam and Kenneth Sisam, The Salisbury Psalter, edited from Salisbury Cathedral MS. 150, Early English Text Society, 242 (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), pp. 5, 65 n. 2.

Francis Wormald, 'An English Eleventh-Century Psalter with Pictures: British Museum, Cotton MS Tiberius C. VI', Walpole Society, 38 (1962), 1-14, pls 1-30 (p. 3).

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, ed. by N. R. Ker, 2nd edn, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 3 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 154.

Francis Wormald, ‘A Fragment of a tenth-century English Gospel Lectionary’ Calligraphy and Palaeography: Essays Presented to Alfred Fairbank, ed. A.S. Osley (London, 1965), p. 44.

Illuminated Manuscripts Exhibited in the Grenville Library (London: British Museum, 1967), no. 3.

Jonathan James Graham Alexander, Norman Illumination at Mont St Michel 966-1100 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), pp. 59-63, 67, 70-73, 91, pl. 9e.

André Boutemy, 'Calendrier anglais illustré', Bulletin de la Société Nationale des Antiquaires de France (1970), 79-98 (p. 90).

Terence Alan Martyn Bishop, English Caroline Minuscule (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), no. 16.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 280.

Claus Michael Kauffmann, Romanesque Manuscripts 1066-1190, Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 3 (London: Harvey Miller, 1975), p. 88.

Elzbieta Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 900-1066, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 2 (London: Harvey Miller, 1976), no. 41; pp. 19, 44, 58, 65, 66, 67, 78, 84, 90, 94, 96, 97, 195, 108, 109, 116, 117, 118, 121.

Jonathan James Graham Alexander, The Decorated Letter (London: Thames and Hudson, 1978), p. 68, pl. 15.

Dorothy Mahoney, The Craft of Calligraphy (London: Pelham Books, 1981), p. 94.

Anne Lawrence, ‘Manuscripts of Early Anglo-Norman Canterbury’, in Medieval Art and Architecture at Canterbury before 1220, ed. by Nicola Coldstream and Peter Draper, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, 5, 1979 (Leeds: Maney and Son, 1982), pp. 101-11 (p. 108).

The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art 966-1066, ed. by Janet Backhouse, Derek Howard Turner, and Leslie Webster (London: British Museum, 1984), no. 41, pl. IX [exhibition catalogue].

Janet M. Backhouse, 'The Making of the Harley Psalter', British Library Journal, 10 (1984), pp. 97-113.

Otto Pächt, Buchmalerei des Mittelalters (Munich: Prestel, 1984), p. 86, fig. 121.

Michael Gullick, Calligraphy (London: Studio Editions, 1990), pls 12-13.

Anglo-Saxon Litanies of the Saints, ed. by Michael Lapidge, Henry Bradshaw Society, 106 (London: Henry Bradshaw Society, 1991), no. 24.

Michelle Brown, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (London: British Library, 1991), p. 76, pl. 75.

Michael Lapidge, 'Abbot Germanus, Winchcombe, Ramsey and the Cambridge Psalter', in Words, Texts and Manuscripts: Studies in Anglo-Saxon Culture Presented to Helmut Gneuss on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifty Birthday, ed. by Michael Korhammer with Karl Reichl and Hans Sauer (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1992), pp. 99-129 (pp. 110-15, 116, 128).

Carl Nordenfalk, Book Illumination: Early Middle Ages (Geneva: Skira, 1995; originally printed as Early Medieval Painting, New York: Skira, 1957), p. 106.

William Noel, The Harley Psalter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 148 n. 111.

The Utrecht Psalter in Medieval Art: Picturing the Psalms of David, ed. by Koert van der Horst, William Noel, and Wilhelmina C M. Wüstefeld (Tuurdijk, Netherlands: HES Publishers and London: Harvey Miller, 1996), 140, 151, 165, 244; 141, fig. 31.

Richard Gameson, ‘Book Production and Decoration at Worcester in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries’, in St Oswald of Worcester: Life and Influence, ed. by Nicholas Brooks and Catherine Cubitt, Studies in the Early History of Britain, The Makers of England, 2 (London: Leicester University Press, 1996), pp. 194-243 (pp. 201, pl. 2).

Michelle P. Brown and Patricia Lovett, The Historical Source Book for Scribes (London: British Library, 1999), pls. on pp. 78, 79.

Helmut Gneuss, Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 241 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001), no. 430.

Richard Gameson, 'La Normandie et l'Angleterre au Xie siècle: le temoignage des manuscrits', in La Normandie et l'Angleterre au Moyen A^ge, Colloque de Cerisy-la-Salle, 4-7 octobre 2001, ed by. Pierre Bouet and Véronique Gazeau (Caen: CRAHM, 2003), pp. 129-59 (p. 143 n. 47).

Claus Michael Kauffmann, Biblical Imagery in Medieval England 700-1500 (London: Harvey Miller, 2003), pp. 112, 118, 132, 170, 189, fig. 82.

Michelle P. Brown, Manuscripts from the Anglo-Saxon Age (London: British Library, 2007), pp. 6, 118-20.

Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (London: British Library, 2007), pp. 54-55, fig. 41-42.

The Grant Atelier: Pathways of Art in Europe (5th-18th Centureis), ed. by Roland Recht (Brussels: Europalia, 2007), no. II. 10 [exhibition catalogue].

T. A. Heslop, ‘The Implication of the Utrecht Psalter in English Romanesque Art’, in Romanesque: Art and Thought in the Twelfth Century: Essays in Honor of Walter Cahn, ed. by Colum Hourihane, Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, 10 (Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2008), pp. 267-90 (pp. 272-73).

Melanie Holcomb, Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009), pp. 14-16, 67, fig. 10 [exhibition catalogue].

Richard Gameson, 'An Itinerant English master around the Millenium' in England and the Continent in the Tenth Century: Studies in Honour of Wilhelm Levison (1876-1947) ed. by D. Rollason, C. Leyser and H. Williams (Turnhout: Brepols, '2010', recte 2011), pp. 87-134 (pp. 105-10).


Images
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Text page

f. 1v
Text page
Crucifixion

f. 3v
Crucifixion
Virgin Mary

f. 3v
Virgin Mary
 
Beatus initial

f. 4
Beatus initial
Illuminated initial

f. 63v
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 64v
Illuminated initial
 
Illuminated initial

f. 71
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 125
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 144
Illuminated initial
 
Illuminated initial

f. 144
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 151v
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 164
Illuminated initial
 
Illuminated initial

f. 164
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 181
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 181
Illuminated initial
 
Illuminated initial

f. 203v
Illuminated initial
Litany

f. 209
Litany
Litany

f. 210v
Litany
 

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