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Detailed record for Harley 2895

Title Psalter, imperfect, beginning with Psalm 2:8 and with folios excised (the 'Charité- sur- Loire Psalter), with a calendar and related tables (ff. 1-8v), with prayers (f. 87r-v); and litany and prayers (ff. 88-93v)
Origin France, Central
Date Last quarter of the 12th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Decoration 12 large miniatures in colours on gold grounds of combined labours and symbols of the months (ff. 1-6v). Large 'KL' letters in gold on coloured grounds with foliate decoration (ff. 1-6v). Architectural frame for a table in colours (f. 8). Large historiated or decorated initials in colours on gold or coloured grounds originally at the beginning of most Psalms, many excised. Large initials in red with blue penwork decoration, or in blue or green with red penwork decoration (some with penwork decoration in two or all of these colours) (from f. 44v mainly without green). Small initials in red, green, or blue (from f. 44v mainly without green). Paraphs in red or blue, some in foliate forms in of heads or objects, and with decoration in the other colour.
Dimensions in mm 255 x 160 (180 x 105)
Official foliation ff. i + 93 ( + 6 unfoliated modern flyleaves at the beginning and 7 at the end)
Collation List of collation information established with the manuscript was rebound in 1972-3 (affixed to the second flyleaf at the end).
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1973; pattern in colours on edges.
Provenance Apparently written for an abbey of nuns in some relationship with the Cluniac monastery of La Charité-sur-Loire, north of Nevers: dedication of the church of La Charité in the calendar for March 9 'dedicatio ecclesiae de kar' (f. 2); prayer with reference to an abbess 'Ut abbatissam nostram conservare et confortare digneris te rogamus' (f. 90v).
? The Benedictine nunnery of the Holy Cross, Poitiers: proposed by Turner 1966 p. 26.
Added 16th-century ? inscription for Leonard, abbot (at Corbigny), confessor for 15 October.
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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley '13 die mensis Augusti A. D. 1724' (f. 1); and 'Horum Psalmorum Veersio, stille quae dicitur B. Hioronymi GALLICANA' (f. 9).
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 See also Yates Thompson 17 and Additional 15603 for other manuscripts from La Charité.
Ampersands.
Colour notes (ff. 22v, 59).
f. i is a parchment flyleaf.
Thomas Becket is included in the calendar (f. 6v).
Calendar for calcuation of Easter with the dates 1164 and 1183 (f. 7v).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2895.

W. H. James Weale, Montagu Rhodes James, S. C. Cockerell, and others, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Second Series of Fifty Manuscripts (Nos. 51 to 100) in the Collection of Henry Yates Thompson (Cambridge: University Press, 1902), p. 132.

[George Warner], Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series I, (London: British Museum, 1907), pl. 19.

[J. A. Herbert], British Museum: Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series 1, 3rd edn (London: British Museum, 1923), pl. 19.

[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. 42.

Eric Millar, Souvenir de l’Exposition de Manuscrits Français a Peintures organisée a la Grenville Library (British Museum) in Janvier-Mars 1932 (Paris: Société Française de Reproductions de Manuscrits a Peintures, 1933), no. 8.

D. H. Turner, Romanesque Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1966), pp. 26-27, pl. 16.

Illuminated Manuscripts Exhibited in the Grenville Library (London, British Museum, 1967), no. 40.

Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Manuscript (Oxford: Phaidon, 1979), pl. 21.

Patricia Danz Stirnemann, 'Nouvelles pratiques en matiere d'enluminure au temps de Philipe Auguste', in La France de Philippe Auguste: Le temps des mutations, ed. by R-H Bautier (Paris: CNRS, 1980), pp. 955-80 (p. 963, no. 6, pl. 4).

Martin Kauffmann, 'British Library, Harley MS 2895 : the La Charité Psalter' (unpublished master's dissertation, University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art, 1986).

The Utrecht Psalter in Medieval Art: Picturing the Psalms of David, ed. by Koert van der Horst, William Noel, and Wilhelmina C. M. Wüstefeld (Utrecht: HES Publishers, 1996), pp. 154, 155 n. 98.

Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Page: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Painting in the British Library (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), no. 47.

Elizabeth A. Peterson, ‘Scholastic Hermeneutics in Historiated Initials’, in The Illuminated Psalter: Studies in the Content, Purpose and Placement of its Images, ed. by F. O. Büttner, (Belgium: Brepols, 2004), pp. 349-59 (p. 349 n. 2, p. 352 n. 17, pp. 354-55).

Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (London: British Library, 2007), p. 96, fig. 83.


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Christ with the Apostles

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David fleeing from Absalom

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