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Detailed record for Additional 44949

Title Psalter ('The M. R. James Memorial Psalter')
Origin England, N.
Date 3rd quarter of the 14th century
Language Latin and French (Anglo-Norman)
Script Gothic
Artists Master of the Egerton Genesis
Decoration 8 half-page framed miniatures in colours with gold, all except one (on f. 7) divided into two parts, above initials in colours on rose and blue grounds with pen-flourishing (ff. 3v, 4, 4v, 5, 5v, 6, 6v, 7). A historiated initial in colours with gold and full border with grotesques, interlace and foliate decoration (f. 39). 7 large framed initials in colours on gold grounds, some inhabited, with foliate full borders in colours with gold (ff. 74, 97, 118v, 140v, 168, 192v, 219v). Numerous initials in gold on rose and blue grounds with pen-flourishing. Line-fillers in rose and blue with gold. Some catchwords with decoration (e.g., ff. 49v). Rubrics in red.
Dimensions in mm 260 x 175 (175 x 115)
Official foliation ff. 305 (ff. 1, 2 and 304 are parchment flyleaves and f. 305 is a paste-down inside the lower binding + 1 unfoliated paper flyleaf at the beginning)
Form Parchment codex
Binding 16th-century brown leather on wooden boards.
Provenance Northern English saints such as Oswald of York, Chad, Patrick, Wilfrid, John of Beverley, Godric, Oswin, Aidan, Paulinus, Hugh, Bede and the translation of Cuthbert included in the calendar and Litany.
Old pressmarks, '95' and '6' (f. 1).
?The Benedictine priory of St Andrew, Tywardreath or Tywardreth, Cornwall: a note in pencil in a 19th-century hand (f. 2v) and formerly known as the 'Tywardreth Psalter', but the attribution was rejected by Watson and Ker, Medieval Libraries: Supplement (1987), p. 66.
Charles Clifford, 6th Baron of Chudleigh (b. 1759, d.1831), perhaps acquired by him through marriage to Eleanor, daughter of Baron Arundell (see Catalogue of Additions (1970), p. 55).
The Barons Clifford of Chudleigh, Devon (see G. Oliver, Monasticon Dioecesis Exoniensis (Exeter: Hannaford, 1846), p. 36).
Bought privately and presented to the British Museum in March, 1937 in memory of Montague Rhodes James (b.1862 , d. 1936), manuscript scholar and Provost of Eton College, by 39 of his friends: a leather paste-down on the inside upper binding lists the contributors.
Notes Contents:
ff. 1-7: Prayers at the canonical hours;
ff. 7v-30v: Prayers and poems in French and Latin;
ff. 32-37v: Calendar with Northern English saints;
ff. 39-298v: Psalter, Canticles and Athanasian Creed in Latin with each verse followed by a French translation;
ff. 298v-303: Litany with Northern English saints.
Instructions to the illuminator above each miniature and notes on charges for painting at the foot of ff. 11v, 13v, 23v, 31v, 61v, 229v, some trimmed off by the binder.
Page numbering, mostly trimmed away.
Millar, Pächt, and Sandler compare the Italian-influenced northern English style to the Psalter of Stephen of Darby (Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson G. 185) and the Egerton Genesis (BL Egerton 1894).
Joslin and Watson suggest a Flemish artist working in England, Michiel van der Borch, for both this manuscript and the Egerton Genesis.
Select bibliography Eric R. Millar, 'The Egerton Genesis and the M. R. James Memorial MS.', Archaeologia, 87 (1938), 1-5.

Otto Pächt, 'A Giottesque Episode in English Mediaeval Art', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 6 (1943), 51-70 (p. 57 n. 9).

A. Langfors, 'Notice et extraits du manuscrit Additional 44949 du Musée Britannique', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 40 (1948), 97-123.

Eric G. Millar, 'Fresh Materials for the Study of English Illumination', in Studies in Art and Literature for Belle da Costa Greene, ed. by Dorothy Miner (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954), pp. 286-94 (fig. 249).

Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1936-1945 (London: British Museum, 1970), pp. 53-55.

Lucy Freeman Sandler, Gothic Manuscripts 1285-1385, Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles (London: Harvey Miller, 1986), no. 127.

François Avril and Patricia Danz Stirnemann, Manuscrits enluminés d’origine insulaire VIIe-XXe siècle (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale, 1987), p. 162.

Andrew G. Watson and N. R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: Supplement to the Second Edition (London, 1987), p. 66.

John B. Friedman, Northern English Book Owners, and Makers in the Late Middle Ages (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1995), p. 112, pl. 14.

Ruth Dean and Maureen Bolton, Anglo-Norman Literature, A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1999), nos. 445, 457, 723-30, 737, 744, 745, 761, 807, 872, 903, 982, 985.

Patricia Lovett The British Library Companion to Calligraphy, Illumination & Heraldry: A History and Practical Guide (London: The British Library, 2000), p. 74.

Lynda Dennison, 'The Suggested Origin and Initial Destination of London, British Library MS 44949, the M.R. James Memorial Psalter', in The Legacy of M. R. James: Papers from the 1995 Cambridge Symposium, ed. by Lynda Dennison (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2001), pp. 77-98.

Mary Coker Joslin and Carolyn Coker Joslin Watson, The Egerton Genesis (London: British Library and University of Toronto Press, 2001), pp. 2, 5, 176, 183, 189, 191-92, 195-96, 198, 203, 230-31, 234-35, 237, 239, 248-49, 255-56, figs. 60, 63, 92, 96.

Barbara Baert, ''An odour. A taste. A touch. Impossible to describe': Noli me Tangere and the Senses' in Religion and the Senses in Early Modern Europe, ed. by Wietse de Boer and Christine Göttler (Leiden: Brill, 2012) pp. 111-45 (p. 122).


Images
* * *
 
The mocking of Christ; the Resurrection

f. 3v
The mocking of Christ; the Resurrection
Christ before Pilate; ~Noli me tangere~

f. 4
Christ before Pilate; Noli me tangere
The Crucifixion; the Annunciation

f.5
The Crucifixion; the Annunciation
 
The Descent from the Cross; the Last Supper

f. 6
The Descent from the Cross; the Last Supper

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