Psalm 1, in a Psalter With Old English Translation
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
The first words of Psalm 1 ("Beatus vir", "Blessed the man") nearly always are the most heavily decorated in medieval psalters. The psalm's first letter is decorated with vines sprouting leaves and fruit and its sections held together by the gripping jaws of regretful-looking animals in a rather heavy version of the mid-11th century Anglo-Saxon style. The layered painting technique is visible, with defined opaque strokes of lighter and darker colours used to shade and highlight. In the 16th century, a scholarly owner or librarian erased and corrected most of the Old English gloss, the darker ink contrasting with the earlier, paler ink. One of its 16th-century owners, Sir Henry Spelman, inscribed his name in the upper margin.