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St Thomas of Canterbury, Saints Margaret and Catherine, in the Huth Psalter

St Thomas of Canterbury, Saints Margaret and Catherine, in the Huth Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1280

Shelfmark: Additional MS 38116

Item number: f.13r

Length: 23.7

Width: 15.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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Named for its donor, the Huth Psalter reveals its origin by listing in its calendar of feasts and litany Saints Hugh, Wilfrid, and John of Beverly?all associated with Lincoln or York. Medieval psalters could be used publicly in the liturgy or privately as a prayer book, with decoration, calendar and added prayers tailored for the use of an individual or community. Unusual features of its illumination give vivid impressions of contemporary concerns and devotional practices. Within a series of full-page images preceding the Psalter text, this three-part depiction shows the martyrdom of St Thomas of Canterbury over images of Sts Margaret and Catherine. The two lower images of triumph by purity and faith complement the violent narrative of Thomas' murder. The processional cross held aloft behind St Thomas highlights the cross as a powerful sign and directs the eye below.

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