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Detailed record for Royal 2 B VIII

Part 1 ff. 16-149v 
Title Psalter with Canticles and the Office of the Dead (The 'Princess Joan Psalter')
Origin England, S. E. (probably London or East Anglia)
Date 1st quarter of the 15th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Artists Johannes
Decoration 9 historiated initials with full foliate borders in colours and gold, at the beginning of major Psalm divisions (ff. 16, 33, 43v, 54, 64, 77, 88v, 101v, 144). Smaller initials in colours and gold with foliate extensions, at the beginning of other Psalms. Initials in gold with blue pen-flourishing, or in blue with red pen-flourishing, at the beginning of verses; line-fillers in gold and blue.
Dimensions in mm 275 x 185 (185 x 120)
 
Part 2 ff. 1-14v 
Author John Somer
Title Kalendarium or astronomical calendar
Origin England
Date c. 1463
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration 1 faint drawing in drypoint of a Zodiac Man, in an arrow-shaped space (f. 12). 1 circular diagram entitled 'Tabula Paschalis' and eclipses of sun and moon, in blue and gold or in black and white, in red roundels (ff. 12v-14). Initials in colours and, at the beginning of the John Somer's preface (f. 1) and in the calendar (ff. 3v-9).
Dimensions in mm 275 x 185 (185 x 140)
 
Official foliation ff. 150 (+ 1 unfoliated medieval parchment flyleaf attached to a modern paper flyleaf at the beginning and at the end, and 2 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end; unfoliated blank parchment leaves after ff. 14 and 149; ff. 15 and 150 are medieval parchment flyleaves)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance The antiphons to Psalms and canticles are of Sarum use; the litany includes saints venerated in East Anglia (Ely): Sexburga, Witburga and Ermenilda (ff. 140v-141).
Calendar with three cycles of conjunctions for 1463 (ff. 3v-9).
Added list of saints in the litany for Tuesday in Lent of Sarum use, 15th century (f. 149v).
Added cycles of conjunctions for 1519 replacing earlier erased cycles in the calendar.
Mary Courtenay (d. 1572), perhaps to be identified with the second wife of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham (d. 1535): inscribed, 'My especyall good lady I humble dyssyar yow / to pray for me hur hes yours and euer wel / be. / Mary Courtenay' (f. 150).
Unidentified ownership mark: an acorn with a small inscribed scroll 'S G S' (or 1565?), 16th century (ff. 1, 15v).
Added obit of Johannes Turk (f. 9), probably to be identified with John Turke (d. c. 1561), warden of the Company of Stationers of London in 1558.
Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.
Notes Part 2 contains a preface by John Somer (ff. 1-2v), and a calendar (ff. 3v-9).
The Psalter section (Part 1) includes a litany (ff. 138-143) and the Office of the Dead (ff. 144-149).
Associated with a group of Psalters: Rennes Bibliothèque Municipale, Ms. 22, Oxford Bodleian Library MS Don. D. 85, and Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College Ms. 148/198 of. c. 1420, related to the illustrator Johannes who left his signature in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 264, f. 220. According to Scott 1996, the manuscript was made under the supervision of Johannes, and she attributes two initials to him (ff. 16, 64).
Known as the 'Princess Joan Psalter' because of John Somer's dedication of the calendar to Joan Holland (d. 1442), mother of Richard II, but there is no evidence that the Psalter was connected with her, and this copy of the calendar was not made in her lifetime.
Catchwords in ink frames and bifolium signatures.
Select bibliography [J. A. Herbert], Illuminated Manuscripts and Bindings of Manuscripts Exhibited in The Grenville Library, Guide to the Exhibited Manuscripts, 3 (Oxford: British Museum, 1923), no. 37.

George F. Warner and Julius P. Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King’s Collections, 4 vols (London: British Museum, 1921), I, pp. 47-48.

[British Museum], Guide to the Exhibited Manuscripts, 3, Illuminated Manuscripts and Bindings Exhibited in the Grenville Library (London: British Museum, 1923), no. 37.

Eric. G. Millar, English Illuminated Manuscripts of the XIVth and XVth Century (Paris: Van Oest, 1928), p. 91.

Charles Kuhn, 'Herman Scheerre and English Illumination of the Early Fifteenth Century', The Art Bulletin, 22 (1940), 138-57 (p. 154, figs. 45-6).

Lynn Thorndike, ‘Eclipses in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries’, Isis, 48 (1957), 51-57 (pp. 52-53).

Gerhard Schmidt, ‘Two Unknown English Horae from the Fifteenth Century’, The Burlington Magazine, 103 (1961), 47-54 (p. 53).

Margaret Rickert, 'The So-called Beaufort Hours and York Psalter', Burlington Magazine, 104 (1962), 238-48 (p. 245).

G. M. Spriggs, 'Unnoticed Bodleian Manuscripts, Illuminated by Herman Scheere and his School', The Bodleian Library Record, 7 (1964), 193-203 (p. 198).

Margaret Rickert, Painting in Britain: the Middle Ages, 2nd edn (London: Penguin Books, 1965), p. 170.

V. A. Kolve, Chaucer and the Imagery of Narrative: The First Five Canterbury Tales (London: Edward Arnold, 1984), p. 493, n. 77.

J. B. Friedman, 'Richard de Thorpe's Astronomical Kalendar and the Luxury Book Trade at York', Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 7 (1985), 137-60 (p. 138, n. 4).

A. F. Sutton and L. Visser-Fuchs, The Hours of Richard III (Stroud: Alan Sutton for Richard III & Yorkist History Trust, 1990), p. 21.

Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 6, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), no. 14.

Linne R. Mooney, The Kalendarium of John Somer (University of Georgia Press, 1998), 18-19, 48, 50-51, 65-66.

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (London: British Library, 2011), no. 21.
Last revised: 01 June 2011


Images

Part  1   ff. 16-149v
Psalter with Canticles and the Office of the Dead (The 'Princess Joan Psalter')
* * *
 
David

f. 16
David
David

f. 16
David
David

f. 33
David
 
David

f. 43v
David
Illuminated initial

f. 46
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 53v
Illuminated initial
 
David and the Fool

f. 54
David and the Fool
David and the Fool

f. 54
David and the Fool
David

f. 64
David
 
David

f. 64
David
Text page

f. 73
Text page
David

f. 77
David
 
Clerics

f. 88v
Clerics
Clerics

f. 88v
Clerics
Trinity

f. 101v
Trinity
 
Trinity

f. 101v
Trinity
Office of the Dead

f. 144
Office of the Dead
Office of the Dead

f. 144
Office of the Dead
 

Part  2   ff. 1-14v
John Somer Kalendarium or astronomical calendar
* * *
 
Illuminated initial

f. 1
Illuminated initial
Table of eclipses

f. 12v
Table of eclipses

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