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Psalm 26 With The Visitation, In The Egerton Psalter

Psalm 26 With The Visitation, In The Egerton Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1280

Shelfmark: Egerton MS 1066

Item number: f.25v

Length: 30.2

Width: 18.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A psalter's origins can often be 'tracked' by the saints' names given 'red-letter' treatment in its calendar, because regions and towns commemorated their local saints. Other features of a psalter, such as types of prayers and styles or types of pictures, can connect it with a location. The Egerton Psalter, however, tells us little. Some link with Norwich is indicated by the calendar's special treatment of Felix of Dunwich, and more clues are given by another kind of evidence, later ownership. Its calendar notes deaths of members of the Holbrook and King families in the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as of William Pepyr, Vicar of Metyngham in the 14th century, supporting its early connections with East Anglia. Certain psalms are highlighted in medieval psalters by having their first letters larger and / or more highly decorated than others. Usually these indicate one of the systems of psalter divisions, the most usual one being the 'liturgical' or eight-fold division which was designed to accommodate the weekly schedule of recitation of the psalms practiced by monks and imitated by laity, with one section for each day plus a single section for vespers or evening services. The Egerton Psalter has the liturgical division and gives each an unconventional set of pictures. Psalm 26 has the Visitation, the New Testament scene of Elizabeth's greeting to the Virgin Mary, paired with another scene which has been identified as 'Mercy and Truth', although its subject is not known for certain.

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