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Detailed record for Egerton 1139

Part 1 ff. 1-218 
Title Psalter (The 'Melisende Psalter') with canticles, prayers, and litany
Origin Eastern Mediterranean (Jerusalem)
Date between 1131 and 1143
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Artists Basilius: signed 'Basilius me fecit' (f. 12v)
Decoration 24 full-page miniatures in colours on gold grounds in a prefatory cycle of the life of Christ with inscriptions in Greek (ff. 1-12v). 9 half-page miniatures in colours and gold among the prayers dedicated to the Virgin and saints (ff. 202v, 205, 206, 206v, 207v, 208, 209, 210, 211). 12 calendar roundels in colours on gold grounds (ff. 13v-19). 1 full-page historiated initial in ink on a gold ground at the beginning of Psalm 1 (f. 23v). 7 large initials in ink on gold grounds with animals, hybrids, men, and masks, with text in gold on brown strips in a decorated full-page border at the principle divisions of Psalms 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97, and 109 (ff. 46v, 60v, 74v, 89v, 106v, 123, 139v). 1 full-page of text in gold on brown stripes in a decorated border at the beginning of Psalm 1 (f. 24). Large and small initials in gold, with penwork decoration in blue and yellow from ff. 24v-32v. Text in red, blue, or gold (chrysography).
Dimensions in mm 215 x 145 (135 x 75)
 
Part 2  
Title Former binding, now kept separately, with two ivory panels, separated ivory panel backings, and embroidered silk spine
Origin Eastern Mediterranean (Jerusalem)
Date between 1131 and 1143
Language Latin
Artists the carved word 'Herodius' possibly the artist
Decoration Two ivory panels, of scenes from the life of David, on the upper cover, with six vices and six works of charity, illustrating Matthew 25:35-36, on the lower cover, with numerous inscriptions. Made from thick sheets of ivory, into which the relief was cut, with small pieces of turquoise, ruby-coloured gemstones, and jet. Some traces of red pigment visible. Separated ivory panel backings. Embroidered silk spine, with silver thread and equal-armed crosses in red and blue. 19th-century additions.
Dimensions in mm 220 x 145
 
Official foliation ff. 218 ( + 7 unfoliated parchment flyleaves at the beginning and 3 at the end + 4 leaves after f. 12)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Gilt and tooled fore-edge. Formerly with carved ivory covers, now kept separately (described in Part 2)
Provenance ? made for Melisende (b. 1105, d. 1161), Queen of Jerusalem, wife of Fulk, count of Anjou (d. 1143) between 1131-1143, by Basilius: inscription 'Basilius me fecit' (f. 12v) in the monastery of the Holy Sepulchre: her parents, King Baldwin II (1118- 1131), third king of Jerusalem, and Queen Morphia (d. 1126/1127), daughter of an Armenian prince, are mentioned in the calendar on 21 August and 1 October, respectively, but Fulk's obit is not included (see Watson 1979, Backhouse 1997); the inscription 'Herodius' on the lower ivory colver perhaps a reference to Fulk (the bird herodius used synonymously with 'fulica' (coot), and the French vernacular for coot 'foulque') see discussion Cahier 1884; Zeitler 2000; with a reference to the capture of Jerusalem (15 July); feminine forms and endings (e.g., ff. 21, 198) (see Zeitler 1995 p. 69); for her sister Yvette (b. 1119, d. c. 1178), abbess of the convent of St Lazarus, Bethany, as the possible intended donee (see Boase 1977 p. 125).
Frere Ponz Daubon: late 12th or 13th-century inscription written upside-down (f. [v]).
? The monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, Grenoble: see Du Sommerard 1846; inscription 'La' in ink pasted onto f. [v] verso.
A. Comarmond, director of the Palais-des-Arts, Lyons (c.1840): see Du Sommerard 1846; note by Madden referring to Du Sommerard (f. [iv]).
Guiglielmo Libri (b. 1802, d. 1869), mathematician and bibliophile: sold to Payne and Foss for £180: see Ruju and Mostert 1995 p. 221.
Payne and Foss, booksellers: letter from Foss to Frederic Madden dated 16 October 1845; sold to the British Museum.
Purchased for £350 by the British Museum from Payne and Foss in November 1845, using the Bridgewater fund (£12,000 bequeathed in 1829 by Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater (b. 1756, d. 1829).
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts.
The calendar is a pre-Sarum Winchester diocese secular calendar, according to Morgan 1981.
The Psalter conforms to the standards of the Holy Sepulchre, and the office of the dead is the use of Bayeux, according to Dondi 2004 p. 64.
Unfoliated paper leaves after ff. 1, 3, 5-8, 10-12, 23, 46, 60, 74, 89, 106, 122, 139, 202, 204-210.
Select bibliography M. Didron, Iconograpahie chrétienne: histoire de Dieu (Paris: Imprimerie royale, 1843), p. 473, n. 2.

A. Du Sommerard, Les arts au moyen age, 5 vols (Paris: Vinchon, 1838-46), V, 162-63.

Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1841-1845 (London: British Museum, 1850), 1845, pp. 87-88.

M. Didron, Christian Iconography: or, the History of Christian Art in the Middle Ages, trans. by E. J. Millington (1851), p. 462, note.

M. Digby Wyatt, The Art of Illuminating (London: Dan and Son Lithographers, 1860; repr. Studio Editions, 1987), p. 31.

P. Ch. Cahier, Nouveaux mélanges d’archéologie d’histoire et de littérature sur le moyen age, 4 vols (Paris: Firmin Didot , 1874-77), II (1874), Ivoires, miniatures, émaux, pp. 1-14, pls 1-2).

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. 1.

W. Y. Fletcher, Foreign Bookbindings in the British Museum (1896), pl. 2.O. M. Dalton, Byzantine Art and Archaeology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911), fig. 428.

J. A. Herbert, Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Methuen, 1911), pp. 57-60, pl. 6.

[J. A. Herbert], Illuminated Manuscripts and Bindings of Manuscripts Exhibited in The Grenville Library, Guide to the Exhibited Manuscripts, 3 (Oxford: British Museum, 1923), p. 40, no. 5.

[J. A. Herbert], British Museum: Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series 3, 3rd edn (London: British Museum, 1925), pl. 6.

A Guide to the Exhibition of Some Part of the Egerton Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1929), no. 4.

Albert Boeckler, Das Goldene Evangelienbuch Heinrichs III (Berlin: Deutscher Verien für Kunstwissenschaft, 1933), p. 59 n. 1.

Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.-XIII.Jahrhunderts, ed. by Adolph Goldschmidt and Kurt Weitzmann, 2 vols (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag fur Kunstwissenschaft, 1934), II, no. 224a,b [with addidtional bibliography].

D. Talbot Rice, English Art 871-1100, Oxford History of English Art, 2 (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1952), p. 110.

T. S. R. Boase, English Art 1100-1216, Oxford History of English Art, 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), p. 191.

Hugo Buchthal and Francis Wormald, Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1957), esp. pp. 1-14, 139-40.

Francis Wormald, 'The Calendar of Queen Melisende's Psalter', 'Litanies of Saints', and 'Prayers following the Litany in Queen Melisende's Psalter', in Hugo Buchthal and Francis Wormald, Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1957), pp. 122-34.

E. B. Garrison, Studies in the History of Mediaeval Italian Painting, 3 vols (Florence: L’impronta, 1953-58), III (1957-1958), 302-4, 307-8.

André Grabar and Carl Nordenfalk Romanesque Painting from the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Century, trans. by Stuart Gilbert (Lausanne: SKIRA, 1958), pp. 138, 172.

Otto Pächt, C. R. Dodwell, and Francis Wormald, The St. Albans Psalter (Albani Psalter) (London: Warburg Institute, 1960), pp. 52-53.

Frauke Steenbock, Die kirchliche Prachteinband im frühen Mittelalter (Berlin: Deutscher verlag fur Kunstwissenschaft, 1965), no. 90.

C. R. Dodwell, Painting in Europe: 800 to 1200 (London : Penguin Books, 1971), 157, pls 172-73.

T. S. R. Boase, ‘Ecclesiastical Art in the Crusader States in Palestine and Syria’, in A History of the Crusades, ed. by Kenneth M. Setton, 6 vols (Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1969-1989), IV: The Art and Architecture of the Crusader States, ed. by Harry W. Hazard (1977), pp. 69-139 (pp. 125-29, 138-39, pls XXXIXa-d).

Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700-1600 in The Department of Manuscripts: The British Library, 2 vols (London: British Library, 1979), no. 598.

Nigel Morgan, 'Notes on the Post-Conquest Calendar, Litany and Martyrology of the Cathedral Priory of Winchester with a Consideration of Winchester Diocese Calendars of the Pre-Sarum Period', in The Vanishing Past: Medieval Studies Presented to Chrisopher Hohler, ed. by Alan Borg and Andrew Martindale (Oxford: B. A. R., 1981), pp. 133-174 (pp. 157, 162 n. 17).

Miriam Foot, Pictorial Bookbindings (London: British Library, 1986), pp. 46-48, pls. 44, opposite p. 5.

Francis Wormald, Collected Writings, ed. by J. J. G. Alexander, T. J. Brown, and Joan Gibbs, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1984-1988), II: Studies in English and Continental Art of the Later Middle Ages, p. 16.

Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, A Medieval Scriptorium: Sancta Maria Magdalena de Frankendal, Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien, 3, 2 vols (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1990), I, 135.

Bianca Kühnel, ‘The Kingly Statement of the Bookcovers of Queen Melisande’s Psalter’, in Tesserae: Festscrhift für Joseph Engemann, ed. by E. Dassmann and K. Thraede, Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum, Ergänzungsband, 18 (1991), 340-57.

John Lowden, ‘The Image and Self-Image of the Medieval Ruler’, in Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe, ed. by Anne J. Duggan, King’s College London Medieval Studies, 10 (London: King’s College, 1993), pp. 213-40 (pp. 226-28, pl. 5).

Bianca Kühnel, Crusader Art of the Twelfth Century: A Geographical, an Historical, or An Art Historical Notion? (Berlin: Mann, 1994), pp. 51, 53, 61 n. 1, 63-125, 155, 160, 162-63, 166-67, figs 47, 69, 87.

John Lowden, catalogue entry, in Byzantium: Treasures of Byzantine Art and Culture from British Collections, ed. by David Buckton (British Museum: London, 1994). nos 180-81 [exhibition catalogue] [with additional bibliography].

Jaroslav Folda, The Art of the Crusaders in the Holy Land 21098-1187 (Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 137-63, pls 6.8-6.12.

Andreas Petzold, Romanesque Art (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1995), p. 7, pl. 1.

P. Alessandra Maccioni Juju and Marco Mostert, The Life and Times of Guglielmo Libri (1802-1869) (Hilversum: Verloren, 1995), pp. 221, 266-67, pl. 48.

Robert W. Scheller, Exemplum: Model-Book Drawings and the Practice of Artistic Transmission in the Middle Ages (ca. 900 - ca. 1450) (Amsterdam: University Press, 1995), p. 143.

Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Page: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Painting in the British Library (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), no. 30.

The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era A. D. 843-1261, ed. by Helen C. Evans and William D. Wixom (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997), no. 259 [with additional bibliography] [exhibition catalogue].

The Apocalypse and the Shape of Things to Come, ed. by Frances Carey (London: British Museum, 1999), p. 67.

Jean Brodahl, 'The Melisende Psalter and Ivories (BL Egerton 1139): An Inquiry into the Status and Collecting of Medieval Art in Early Nineteenth-Century France' (unpub. PhD dissertation, Brown University, 1999).

Anne-Marie Bouché, 'The Spirit in the World: The Virtues of the Floreffe Bible frontispiece: British Library, Add. Ms. 17738, ff. 3v-4r' in Virtue & Vice: The Personifications in the Index of Christian art, ed. by Colum Hourihane (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), pp. 42-65 (pp. 53-56, figs 3-4).

Barbara Zeitler, 'The Distorting Mirror: Reflections on the Queen Melisende Psalter (London, B. L., Egerton 1139)', in Through the Looking Glass: Byzantium Through British Eyes, ed. by Robin Cormack and Elizabeth Jeffreys, Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies, 7 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 69-81.

Vrej Nersessian, Treasures from the Ark: 1700 Years of Armenian Christian Art (London: Briths Library, 2001), no. 131 [exhibition catalogue].

Adelaide Bennett, 'Commemoration of Saints in Suffrages: From Public Liturgy to Private Devotion' in Objects, Images, and the Word: Art in the Service of the Liturgy, ed. by Colum Hourihane, Index of Christian Art Occasional Paper, 6 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), pp. 54-78 (pp. 55, 74 n. 14).

Kathleen S. Schowalter, ‘The Ingeborg Psalter: Queenship, Legitimacy, and the Appropriation of Byzantine Art in the West’, in Capetian Women, ed. by Kathleen Nolan (New York: Palgrave, 2003), pp. 99-135 (pp. 103-20, pls 5.1, 5.3).

Christina Dondi, The Liturgy of the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem: A Study and a Catalogue of the Manuscript Sources, Bibliotheca Victorina, 16 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004), pp. 13, 63-64, 104, 121-23, 126, 131, 139, 162-66, 253-66, 331, pl. 3.

Frauke Steenbock, ‘Psalterien mit kostbaren Einbänden’ in The Illuminated Psalter: Studies in the Content, Purpose and Placement of its Images, ed. by F. O. Büttner, (Belgium: Brepols, 2004), pp. 435-40 (p. 439, pls 453-55). [part 2, binding]

Jaroslav Folda, Crusader Art in the Holy Land, from the Third Crusade to the Fall of Acre: 1187-1291 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 5-6, 10, 13, 18, 93-94, 210, 212, 215, 282, 285, 294, 324, 401, 423, 426, 508-9, 514, 518, 524.

Naomi Ruth Pitamber, 'Hybrid Devotion in Medieval Jerusalem: The Melisende Psalter's Identity Crisis' (unpubl.ished master's thesis, University of Texas at San Antonio, 2005).

Saladin und die Kreuzfahrer, ed. by Alfried Wieczorek, Mamoun Fansa, and Harald Meller, Publikationen der Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, 17 (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 2005), p. 179, pl. 101, no. C.39 [exhibition catalogue].

Janet Backhouse, 'The Case of Queen Melisende's Psalter: An Historical Investigation', in Tributes to Jonathan J. G. Alexander: The Making and Meaning of Illuminated Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, Art and Architecture, ed. by Susan L'Engle and Gerald B. Guest (London: Harvey Miller, 2006), pp. 457-70.

Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (London: British Library, 2007), p. 84, fig. 71.

Sacred: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and their Sacred Texts (London: British Library, 2007), p. 206 [exhibition catalogue].

Margaret Scott, Medieval Dress & Fashion (London: British Library, 2007), pp. 48-49, pls 23, 24.

Kathleen Doyle, catalogue entry, Byzantium 330-1453, ed. by Robin Cormack and Maria Vassilaki (London: Royal Academy, 2008), no. 260 [exhibition catalogue].
Last revised: 11 December 2006


Images

Part  1   ff. 1-218
Psalter (The 'Melisende Psalter') with canticles, prayers, and litany
* * *
 
The Annunciation

f. 1
The Annunciation
The Visitation

f. 1v
The Visitation
The Nativity

f. 2
The Nativity
 
Adoration of the Magi

f. 2v
Adoration of the Magi
The Presentation

f. 3
The Presentation
Baptism of Christ

f. 3v
Baptism of Christ
 
Temptations of Christ

f. 4
Temptations of Christ
Transfiguration

f. 4v
Transfiguration
Raising of Lazarus

f. 5
Raising of Lazarus
 
Entry into Jerusalem

f. 5v
Entry into Jerusalem
The Last Supper

f. 6
The Last Supper
Washing of the Disciples' Feet

f. 6v
Washing of the Disciples' Feet
 
Agony in the Garden

f. 7
Agony in the Garden
The Betrayal

f. 7v
The Betrayal
The Crucifixion

f. 8
The Crucifixion
 
The Deposition

f. 8v
The Deposition
Entombment of Christ

f. 9
Entombment of Christ
Harrowing of Hell

f. 9v
Harrowing of Hell
 
Holy Women at the Tomb

f. 10
Holy Women at the Tomb
Doubting Thomas

f. 10v
Doubting Thomas
Ascension of Christ

f. 11
Ascension of Christ
 
Pentecost

f. 11v
Pentecost
The Dormition

f. 12
The Dormition
Deesis

f. 12v
Deesis
 
Table

f. 13
Table
January: Aquarius

f. 13v
January: Aquarius
February: Pisces

f. 14
February: Pisces
 
March: Aries

f. 14v
March: Aries
April: Taurus.

f. 15
April: Taurus.
May: Gemini

f. 15v
May: Gemini
 
June: Cancer.

f. 16
June: Cancer.
July: Leo

f. 16v
July: Leo
August: Virgo

f. 17
August: Virgo
 
September: Libra

f. 17v
September: Libra
October: Scorpio.

f. 18
October: Scorpio.
November: Sagittarius.

f. 18v
November: Sagittarius.
 
December: Capricorn

f. 19
December: Capricorn
Text page

f. 19v
Text page
Prayers

f. 21v
Prayers
 
David harping

f. 23v
David harping
Psalm 1

f. 24
Psalm 1
Psalm 1

f. 24v
Psalm 1
 
Dragon

f. 46v
Dragon
Illuminated initials

f. 48
Illuminated initials
Man and dog

f. 60v
Man and dog
 


f. 61
Illuminated initials

f. 69
Illuminated initials
Decorated initial

f. 74v
Decorated initial
 


f. 75
Zoomorphic initial

f. 89v
Zoomorphic initial
Zoomorphic initial

f. 106v
Zoomorphic initial
 
Zoomorphic initial

f. 123
Zoomorphic initial
Zoomorphic initial

f. 139v
Zoomorphic initial
Litany

f. 192v
Litany
 
Prayers to the Virgin

f. 197v
Prayers to the Virgin
Virgin and Child

f. 202v
Virgin and Child
Archangel Michael

f. 205
Archangel Michael
 
John the Baptist

f. 206
John the Baptist
Saint Peter

f. 206v
Saint Peter
John the Evangelist

f. 207v
John the Evangelist
 
Stephen

f. 208
Stephen
Nicholas

f. 209
Nicholas
Mary Magdalene

f. 210
Mary Magdalene
 
Agnes

f. 211
Agnes
Text page

f. 218
Text page


f. 218v
 

Part  2  
Former binding, now kept separately, with two ivory panels, separated ivory panel backings, and embroidered silk spine
* * *
 
David

Upper cover
David
Works of Mercy

Lower cover
Works of Mercy
David

Upper cover
David
 
David

Upper cover
David
Anointing of David

Upper cover
Anointing of David
David

Upper cover
David
 
David and Goliath

Upper cover
David and Goliath
David

Upper cover
David
Visiting the imprisoned

Lower cover
Visiting the imprisoned
 
Visiting the sick

Lower cover
Visiting the sick
Housing the stranger

Lower cover
Housing the stranger
Feeding the hungry

Lower cover
Feeding the hungry
 
Clothing the naked

Lower cover
Clothing the naked
Giving drink to the thirsty

Lower cover
Giving drink to the thirsty

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