This Psalter is famous for, and named after, its full-page miniature of a map of the world, which is related to the famous medieval map of the world (Mappa Mundi) at Hereford cathedral. But it also has a series of full-page miniatures of the life of Christ, added late in the 13th century; historiated initials at the usual psalter divisions; and an unusual image of the Virgin and Child. The calendar and other features suggest a London/Westminster origin, and the presence of the feast of Richard of Chichester, canonised in 1262, provides the earliest possible date for the production of the book.
Beneath a blessing Christ and two censing angels is a remarkably detailed map of the world. Jerusalem is in the centre, the Red Sea is coloured red, and depictions of mythical monstrous races are arranged along the lower right-hand extremity. The British Isles are at the lower left extremity.
- Article by:
- Alixe Bovey
Men with dogs’ heads, creatures with giant feet, griffins, sirens and hellish demons can all be found in the illustrated pages of medieval manuscripts. Dr Alixe Bovey delves into the symbolic meaning of a variety of monsters to understand what they can teach us about life and belief in the Middle Ages.