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2002 articles 1979 articles

Reconstruction of a Liège psalter-hours

Judith Oliver


IN the sad history of crimes against books, British Library Add. MS. 28784 must be placed high on the list ot scrapbooks headed by the Carmelite Missal, Add. MSS. 29704- 29705. When acquired by the British Museum in 1871 Add. MS. 28784 was composed of a complete late fifteenth-century book of hours' embellished with sixteen inserted fullpage miniatures from an earlier fifteenth-century book of hours and with over 400 bits and pieces cut from a late thirteenth-century manuscript.' These cut-outs enliven the broad empty margins of text pages in the first book of hours, and cover all areas of text on rectos and versos of the sixteen leaves of the second. The job of separating this composite manuscript into its three constituent parts was begun in 1876 when the sixteen inserted pages were removed from what is now Add. 28784A and bound separately to form Add. 28784B. Parts A and B are both bound in nineteenth-century blind-tooled red leather bindings. The much more difficult task of separating the thirteenth-century part has yet to be attempted.' The purpose of the present investigation is therefore to identify the type of book it was, to determine the school of manuscript illumination to which it belongs and its approximate date, and finally to reconstruct its probable appearance.

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