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Detailed record for Royal 2 A XVI

Title Psalter ('The Psalter of Henry VIII')
Origin England, S. E. (London)
Date c. 1540-1541
Language Latin
Script Humanistic
Scribe Jean Mallard, with Latin marginal notes by Henry VIII
Artists Jean Mallard
Decoration 8 miniatures in colours and gold: of the royal coat of arms, at the beginning of Mallard's dedicatory letter (f. 1v), and at the beginning of Psalms 1 (Henry VIII reading), 26 (David and Goliath), 38 (battle scene), 52 (Henry VIII and his court jester), 68 (Henry kneeling in prayer), 80 (musicians), 97 (angels singing) (ff. 3, 30, 48, 63v, 79, 98v, 118). (Psalm 109 does not have a miniature). Large initials in colours and gold containing flowers, birds, fruits, and insects, at the beginning of other Psalms. Smaller initials in gold on red, blue, brown, or black grounds, or in black on gold grounds, at the beginning of verses. Line-fillers in gold and colours.
Dimensions in mm 205 x 140 (130 x 85)
Official foliation ff. i +176 (+ 2 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end; f. i is a medieval parchment flyleaf)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Pre-1600. Red velvet with silver-gilt corner pieces and remains of clasps; gilt edges.
Provenance Jean Maillart (or Mallard), a French poet at the court of Francis I and then at the court of Henry VIII, mentioned as the 'orator in the French tongue' in the king's household accounts 1539-41 (see Carley 2000, p. xlvii), written and illustrated by him for Henry VIII: inscribed 'Johannes Mallardus regius orator, et a calamo / Regi Angliae, et Francie Fidei deffensori invictis[simo]' (Jean Maillart, royal orator: from his pen to the most invincible king of England and France, and defender of the faith) (f. 2).
Henry VIII (b. 1491, d. 1547), king of England and Ireland: addressed to him in the dedicatory letter (ff. 1-2v); the royal arms of Henry VIII with the devise, 'Honny soet quy mal y pense' (f. 1v); his portraits (ff. 3, 30, 63v, 79), and marginal Latin annotations in his hand.
The Old Royal Library (the English Royal Library): Westminster inventory number, no. 1283.
Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts.
Includes the dedicatory letter by Jean Mallard (ff. 1v-2v), who wrote and illuminated the manuscript; other works by him are Royal 7 D. XIII and Royal 20 B. XII.
In the manuscript Henry VIII is depicted as king David and Jean Mallard compares him to David in the dedicatory letter preceding the Psalter. As indicated by the many marginal notes added in the king’s own hand, the volume became the Tudor king’s personal copy of the Psalms.
According to King 1989, this manuscript predates the ratification of the Act of Supremacy by the Reformation Parliament (1534): the miniature for Psalm 80 represents God wearing a papal tiara (f. 98v); Henry VIII's marginalia postdate that session of the Parliament.
Select bibliography 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, p. 32.

Janet Backhouse, 'Two Books of Hours of Francis I', The British Museum Quarterly, 31 (1967) 90-95 (pp. 93, 96 n. 17).

F. O. Büttner, 'Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam: Bildnisse in der Wort Illustration zu Psalm 24:1', in Miscelanea Codicologica F. Masai Dedicata, ed. P. Cockshaw and M. C. Garand, P. Jodogne (Gand: Story Sceientia, 1979), pp. 216-76 and 331-43 (p. 218).

Janet Backhouse, 'French Manuscript Illumination, 1450-1530', in Renaissance Painting in Manuscripts: Treasures from the British Library, ed. by Thomas Kren (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1983), pp. 143-92 (p. 150.

T. A. Birrell, English Monarchs and Their Books: From Henry VII to Charles II (London: British Library, 1987), p. 7.

John N. King, Tudor Royal Iconography: Literature and Art in an Age of Religious Crisis (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), pl. 17.

Pamela Tudor-Craig, 'Henry VIII and King David', in Early Tudor England: Proceedings of the 1987 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by Daniel Williams (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1989), pp. 183-206 (esp. pp. 194-205).

Henry VIII: A European Court in England, ed. by David Starkey (London: Collins & Brown, 1991), no. XI.31 [exhibition catalogue].

Janet Backhouse, 'Sir Robert Cotton's Record of a Royal Bookshelf', British Library Journal, 18 (1992) 44-51 (p. 50 n. 8).

John N. King, 'Henry VIII as David: The King's Image and Reformation Poilitics', in Rethinking the Henrician Era : Essays on Early Tudor Texts and Contexts: Session, Convention, Papers, ed. by P. C. Herman (Urbana: Illinois University Press ,1994), pp. 78-92 (pp. 83-86, fig. 4).

Greg Walker, 'Henry VIII and the Politics of the Royal Image', in Pervasive Fictions: Fiction, Faith and Political Culture in the Reign of Henry VIII (Aldershot: Scolar, 1996), pp. 80-89.

The Libraries of King Henry VIII, ed. by J. P. Carley, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, 7 (London: The British Library, 2000), H2. 1283, pp. xlvii.

R. A. Cooper, 'Jean Mallard, poete et peintre rouennais', in Premiere poesie francaise de la Renaissance: Autour des Puys poetiques normands, ed. by Jean-Claude Arnould and Thierry Mantovani (Paris: Honore Champion, 2003), pp. 193-213 (p. 204).

F. O. Büttner, ‘Der illuminierte Psalter im Westen’, in The Illuminated Psalter: Studies in the Content, Purpose and Placement of its Images, ed. by F. O. Büttner, (Belgium: Brepols, 2004), pp. 1-106 (p. 26 n. 121, pl. 68).

James P. Carley, The Books of King Henry VIII and His Wives, preface by David Starkey (London: British Library, 2004), p. 56, pl. 53.

Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (London: British Library, 2007), p. 156, fig. 142.

Sacred: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and their Sacred Texts (London: British Library, 2007), p. 159 [exhibition catalogue].

Margaret Scott, Medieval Dress & Fashion (London: British Library, 2007), pl. 118.

Nicolas Bell, 'Commentary', in Music for King Henry: BL Royal MS II E XI (London: Folio Society, 2009), pll on p. 14.

Henry VIII: Man and Monarch, ed. by Susan Doran (London: British Library, 2009), no. 194, pl. on p. 184 [exhibition catalogue].

King Henry's Prayer Book, with a commentary by James P. Carley (London: Folio Society, 2009) [facsimile of the manuscript).

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (London: British Library, 2011), no. 45.


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Royal coat of arms

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Frog

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Henry VIII as David

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Henry VIII
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David and Goliath

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Battle

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Butterfly

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Henry VIII as David

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William Somer

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Henry VIII as David

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Henry VIII as David
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f. 79v
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f. 80
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Illuminated initial

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f. 98
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Musicians

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Musicians

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Decorated initials

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Angels singing

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Angels singing
Angels singing

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Angels singing
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