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Detailed record for Harley 2888

Title Psalter, imperfect, with calendar and hymns, Breviary (Augustinian use)
Origin England
Date c. 1340 - c. 1343
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Artists De Bois Master; Fitzwarin Artist (ff. 68, 84, 98v)
Decoration 7 full or partial bar borders and historiated initials in colours, gold, and silver at the beginning of Psalms 1, 26, 38, 51, 68, 80, and 97 (Psalm 109 lacking), most with animals in the bas-de-page (ff. 9, 31v, 44, 56, 68, 84, 98v). 2 smaller historiated initials in colours and gold (ff. 9, 24). Large initials in colours and gold with floral and foliate motifs. Smaller 'champ' initials in colours and gold. 'KL' initials in gold (ff. 3-8v). Cadels in brown, highlighted in yellow, many with human or animal faces. Decorated catchwords and marginal drawings in brown ink of birds, animals, and hybrid creatures. Added miniature of the Virgin and Child in colours and gold, probably dating to the 13th century (pasted onto f. 2v).
Dimensions in mm 270 x 170 (205 x 130)
Official foliation ff. 209 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house; red outer fore-edge.
Provenance Added miniature of the Virgin and Child in colours and gold, probably dating to the 13th century (pasted onto f. 2v).
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 Horizontal catchwords with decorative frames.
Musical notation.
Thomas Becket's name has been effaced in the litany (f. 159).
The decoration was begun, but not completed by, the De Bois Master, one of the most prolific English illuminators of the third and fourth decades of the 14th century (according to Smith, pp. 28-29).
ff. 68, 84, and 98v were painted by the Fitzwarin Artist (according to Dennison, p. 44 n. 15).
Added miniature of the enthroned Virgin and Child from another manuscript (2v).
ff. 1-2 are partial parchment leaves with added 14th and 15th-century inscriptions, text, and an added image.
f. 208 is a former pastedown.
f. 209 is a partial leaf with various inscriptions and a drawing of a headless animal lying on its back.
'Music is appended to the antiphons of the Psalter, as well as in the Office for the Dead' (Wordsworth and Littlehales, 1910, pp. 112-13).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2888.

Christopher Wordsworth and Henry Littlehales, The Old Service-Books of the English Church, 2nd edn (London: Methuen & Co., 1910), pp. 60, 112, 113.

Lynda Dennison, '"The Fitzwarin Psalter and its Allies": A Reappraisal', in England in the Fourteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1985 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by W. M. Ormrod (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1986), pp. 42-66 (pp. 43-44, 47, 48).

Nicolas Bell Music in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2001), p. 47.

Kathryn A. Smith, Art, Identity and Devotion in Fourteenth-Century England: Three Women and their Books of Hours, (London: British Library, 2003), pp. 28-29.


Images
* * *
 
David harping

f. 9
David harping
Samuel anointing David

f. 31v
Samuel anointing David
Samuel anointing David

f. 31v
Samuel anointing David
 
Catchwords

f. 32v
Catchwords
Jonah and the whale

f. 68
Jonah and the whale
Monks singing

f. 98v
Monks singing
 
Monks singing

f. 98v
Monks singing

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