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February, In The Calendar Of A Psalter Preceded By Miniatures And A Calendar

February, In The Calendar Of A Psalter Preceded By Miniatures And A Calendar

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1210

Shelfmark: Royal MS 1 D.x

Item number: f.9v

Length: 34.5

Width: 22

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Oxford University came into being gradually, around the year 1200, and a community of book-makers were soon established in the town, centred around the Catte Street and St. Mary's Church. Documentary records suggest that these book-makers not only provided students with the necessary textbooks, but also specialised in meeting the needs of the luxury market: a disproportionately large number of illuminators are recorded. This psalter is probably one of their products: the calendar and litany include three entries for St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. As usual in luxury Psalters, each month of the calendar is illustrated with a sign of zodiac and the 'Occupation of the Month': in this case, Pisces, the fish, and a man warming his feet by a fire. About half-way down the page, in blue (two lines above St. Valentine, on 14 Feb.), is the feast of the Translation of St. Frideswide, a feastday that would not have been celebrated much outside Oxford.

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