Marginal Drawings Of A Woman Playing A Psaltery, In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Gerald of Wales was born at Monorbier castle, in Pembrokeshire, in 1146. He was educated at Gloucester and Paris, and became Archdeacon of Brecon in 1175. He visited Ireland in 1183, 1185, 1199 and again for about two years from 1204. A version of his text--which is largely concerned with the marvellous things he saw or heard about there--is known to have been read publicly in 1188. This manuscript was written perhaps at Lincoln, probably before Gerald's death in 1223, and it has been suggested that he personally supervised its writing and decoration. This manuscript was later owned by St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.
The Irish were thought by Gerald to be better at music than all other peoples; unlike British music, which is slow and easy, the Irish is quick and lively, with a sweet and pleasant melody. Although the text says that the Irish only play the harp (cithera) and the tympanum, the artist has drawn a woman playing a psaltery.