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Detailed record for Additional 50000

Title Psalter, the 'Oscott Psalter'
Origin England, Central (Oxford?)
Date Between 1265 and 1270
Language Latin and French
Script Gothic
Decoration Calendar medallions of the labours of the months and the Zodiac signs (ff. 1-6v). Prefatory cycle of 22 full-page miniatures in colours and gold, preceding the Psalter (ff. 7-17v). 10 historiated initials in colours and gold with marginal extension, some with additional figures, animals and grotesques in the margins, at the beginning of the liturgical divisions of the Psalter, the Office of the Dead and the Psalter of the Virgin (ff. 48, 66v, 83, 84, 101, 125, 146v, 168, 233, 242), The initial for Psalm 1 is missing. Some independent bas-de-page figures or scenes, Smaller historiated initials in colours and gold (ff. 189v, 216, 218, 219v, 224, 225, 225v, 226, 227, 229, 233v, 234, 234v, 238, 244, 256v), or illuminated initials with figures, animals or foliate decoration, at the beginning of other Psalms, canticles, litany and prayers. Initials in blue with red pen-flourishing, or in gold with blue pen-flourishing, at the beginning of verses. Pen-flourished line-fillers.
Dimensions in mm 300 x 195
Official foliation ff. v+ 257 (ff. i-iii are modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and ff. iv-v are modern paper flyleaves at the end). ff. 7-17 are misbound; bifolium signatures (see ff. 224-233).
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Crimson leather binding with tooled decoration and edges gilt and gauffered in a lozenge pattern; doublure of the same tooled leather and flyleaves covered with green watered silk; signed by J. Jones, Liverpool (inside the upper cover); c. 1814: a watermark on the paper inter-leaf after f. 17 reading 'J. Green, 1814'.
Provenance Perhaps written by William, or alternatively he was the author of the paraphrase of the Psalms: colophon: 'Willelme ki me escrit / Seit de deu beneit / Kil nul a rachete. Est li doint la grace. Kil maigne vant la face kant sera trepasse' (f. 215r).
The calendar include Saints Modwena, Edith of Polesworth, Oswald and Milburga, suggesting a patron in the West Midlands with interest in religious houses of Burton-upon-Trent and Polesworth which possessed relics of St Modwena and St Edith; the litany includes William of York and the Oxford Saint Frideswide (see Morgan, Early Gothic (1988)).
? Cardinal Ottobuono Fieschi (d. 1276), Papal Legate to England (1265-1268), elected Pope as Adrian V in 1276: according to Turner the entries in the calendar for the Apparition of St Michael and St Agatha, venerated in southern Italy, both written in gold might suggest a patron with Italian interests; the now detached leaf (Add. MS 54215) includes an image of an ecclesiastic wearing a mitre and a cope (without a pallium or crosier) and identified by Turner as possible portrait of Cardinal Fieschi (see Turner, Rediscovered Miniatures (1969)).
Mary Airck, 17th century?: inscribed with her name (f. 257v).
Henry Blundell (b. 1724, d. 1810), of Ince Blundell, Lancashire, art collector: perhaps owned by him (see below).
Charles Blundell (d. 1837), of Ince Blundell, Lancashire, son of Henry Blundell, perhaps given or bequeathed by him to Oscott College (according to information from Abbess Laurentia McClachlan, O.S.B., see Warner, Descriptive Catalogue (1920)).
St Mary's College, Oscott, Handsworth, Staffordshire: the college's bookplate, 19th century (f. i recto).
Charles William Dyson Perrins (b. 1864, d. 1958), book and porcelain collector: acquired by him from St Mary's College, Oscott in 1908: his bookplates (f. i verso), with a label showing its former Dyson Perrins shelfmark '52' (f. v recto).
Acquired by the British Museum in 1958 with the assistance of the Art Fund.
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts.
A single leaf from the Oscott Psalter is kept separately as Additional 54215.
The miniatures pages were originally arranged so that pairs of saints alternated with openings devoted to scenes from the life of Christ. The manuscript is now misbound and two miniature pages are missing.
There are two other Anglo-Norman verse Psalters:
Arundel 230, f. 6: Prologue only
Harley 4070, ff. 2-123: Main text in French with Latin phrases written in the margins.
Select bibliography [D. H. Turner], Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series 5 (London: British Museum, 1965), pls 11, 12.

Florens Deuchler, Der Ingeborgpsalter (Berlin: de Gruyter & Co., 1967), p. 51.

Illuminated Manuscripts Exhibited in the Grenville Library (London, British Museum, 1967), no. 18.

Bruce Watson, 'The Place of the Cuerden Psalter in English Illumination', Gesta, 9 (970), 34-41 (p. 39).

Philippe Verdier, Peter Brieger, Marie Farquhar, Art and the Courts: France and England from 1259 to 1328, The National Gallery of Canada, 27 April-2 July 1972 (Ottowa: National Galley of Canada, 1972), p. 62, fig. 54.

Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Manuscript (Oxford: Phaidon, 1979), pl. 32.

Richard Marks and Nigel Morgan The Golden Age of English Manuscript Painting 1200-1500 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1981), pls 14, 15.

The Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagent England 1200-1400, ed. by Jonathan Alexander and Paul Binski (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1987), no. 352. [exhibition catalogue].

Nigel Morgan, Early Gothic Manuscripts, 2 vols, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 4 (London: Harvey Miller, 1982-1988), II: 1250-1285, no.151(a).

Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200-1400, ed. by J.J.G. Alexander and Paul Binski (London, 1987), no. 352.

Claire Donovan, The de Brailes Hours: Shaping the Book of Hours in Thirteenth-Century Oxford (London: British Library, 1991), p. 204, no. 37.

Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Page: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Painting in the British Library (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), no. 69.

Ruth Dean and Maureen Bolton, Anglo-Norman Literature, A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1999), no. 449.

John Higgitt, The Murthly Hours: Devotion, Literacy and Luxury in Paris, England and the Gaelic West (London: British Library, 2000), pp. 212, 260, 276 n. 121, fig 139.

Nigel Morgan, ‘The Decorative Ornament of the Text and Page in Thirteenth-century England: Initials, Border Extensions and Line Fillers’, in Decoration and Illustration in Medieval English Manuscripts, English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700, 10 (London: British Library, 2002), pp. 1-33 (p. 6).

Debra Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), figs. 45-46.

Paul Binski, Becket’s Crown: Art and Imagination in Gothic England 1170-1300 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), pl. 178.

The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, ed. by Paul Binski and Stella Panayotova (London: Harvey Miller, 2005), p. 182.

Nigel Morgan, 'The Trinity Apocalypse: Style, Dating and Place of Production', in The Trinity Apocalypse (Trinity College Cambridge, MS R.16.2) (London: British Library, 2005), pp. 23-43 (p. 27, figs 33-34).

Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (London: British Library, 2007), p. 116, fig. 103.

Rodney M. Thomson and others, 'Technology of Production of the Manuscript Book', in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain (Cambridge: University Press, 1999- ), II: 1100-1400, ed. by Nigel Morgan and Rodney M. Thomson (2008), pp. 75-109 (p. 94).

Maria Careri, Christine Ruby and Ian Short, Livres et écritures en français et en occitan au XIIe siècle: Catalogue illustré (Rome: Viella, 2011), no. 39.

Jeffrey F. Hamburger and Nigel F. Palmer, The Prayer Book of Ursula Begerin, 2 vols (Dietikon-Zurich: Urs Graf, 2015), I, p. 81, fig. 43.


Images
* * *
 
May

f. 3r
May
Annunciation and Visitation

f. 7r
Annunciation and Visitation
 Andrew

f. 8v
Andrew
 
Last Judgement and Resurrection

f. 12v
Last Judgement and Resurrection
Christ in Majesty

f. 15
Christ in Majesty
The Harrowing of Hell and Resurrection

f. 17
The Harrowing of Hell and Resurrection
 
Coronation of Davic

f. 48
Coronation of Davic
David and Saul

f. 83
David and Saul
Jonah and the whale

f. 101
Jonah and the whale
 
Clerics singing; a cockerel and fox

f. 146v
Clerics singing; a cockerel and fox
Trinity and Ascension

f. 168
Trinity and Ascension
Historiated initial

f. 189v
Historiated initial
 
Zoomorphic initial

f. 209v
Zoomorphic initial
The Virgin

f. 256v
The Virgin

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