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Detailed record for Additional 24686

ff. 5-136 
Title Psalter ('The Alphonso Psalter') (formerly known as 'The Tenison Psalter')
 
ff. 2r-4v 
Title Pasted-in cuttings including early examples of re-used, pasted-in miniatures from a contemporary north French Bible (ff.3v-4v).
 
Origin England (London/Westminster)
Date c.1284 (armorial decoration f. 11) to c. 1316
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration 6 full-page miniatures in colours and gold (ff. 2r-4v). 1 large historiated initial in colours and gold (f. 11r). Full and partial borders with zoomorphic and foliate decoration in colours and gold throughout. Smaller historiated initials in colours and gold throughout. Line fillers, bas-de-page scenes and armorial decoration in colours and gold throughout.
Dimensions in mm 245 x 165 (160 x 105)
Official foliation ff. 136 (+ 1 unfoliated medieval parchment flyleaf at the end; ff. 1 and 136 are medieval parchment flyleaves).
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600.
Provenance Probably commissioned in 1284 to celebrate the proposed marriage of Alphonso (b. 1273, d. 1284), earl of Chester, son of King Edward I, and Margaret, daughter of Florent V, Count of Holland and Zeeland, aborted by Alphonso's death in August 1284: the arms of England and of Holland and Zeeland (f. 11r).
Elizabeth of Rhuddlan (b. 1282, d. 1316), Alphonso's sister, wife successively to John I, son of Florent V, Count of Holland and Zeeland (m. 1297) and Humphrey de Bohun (b. 1276, d. 1322) , 4th earl of Hereford and 3rd earl of Essex (m. 1302); adapted and completed for her, perhaps as the wedding gift to celebrate her first marriage in 1297: obits of Elizabeth's mother, grandmother and sister, as well as her own included in the calendar (5 May 1316, f. 7r).
The Bohun family: the arms of the Bohun family depicted in the background of a miniature (f. 4r); obits of the members of the Bohun family and household, included in the calendar, 14th-century (ff. 5r-10v).
A number 'III' and a note mentioning a burial of 'Mannynge' on 27 October 1584: 'On the even of S Symon and Jude [27 October] in anno d[omi]ni 1584 et anno Regni Regine n[ostr]e Eliz[abethi] xxvi m (?) manynge was buryed' (f. 1r).
Edward Graveley: his ownership inscription, 16th century (f. 1v).
'Number 59 (erased) 35', 18th century (inside upper board and ff.1r-1v).
Thomas Tenison (b. 1636, d. 1715), archbishop of Canterbury: his sale, Sotheby's, 1 July 1861, lot 75, purchased for Nicholas Tite and returned by him to Sotheby's.
Included with 3 other Tenison MS in the Sotheby's, M.J. Johnson sale, 27 May 1862, lot 61: purchased by the British Museum.
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts.
The Alphonso Psalter is considered one of the best examples of the refined 'court style' of manuscript illumination. The style evolved in the royal court at Westminster during the second half of the 13th century, emulating the highly sophisticated French royal court in Paris. The original decoration, which is of superlative quality, was completed and added to by several later owners, one of whom, perhaps Elizabeth de Bohun, pasted in illustrations from an earlier Bible from the north of France in c. 1316 (ff. 3v-4v).
Select bibliography E.A. Bond, 'Description of an Illuminated Latin Psalter', Fine Arts Quarterly Revue (1863), 77-96.

Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the years 1854-1875 (London: British Museum, 1877), pp. 97-98.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Illustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 6.

Schools of Illumination: Reproductions from Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (London: British Museum, 1914-1930), II: English 12th and 13th Centuries (1915), pl. 15.

[J. A. Herbert], British Museum: Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series 3, 3rd edn (London: British Museum, 1925), pl.

Eric. G. Millar, English Illuminated Manuscripts from the Xth to the XIIIth Century (Paris: Van Oest, 1926), pl. 96, frontispiece.

Margaret Rickert, Painting in Britain: the Middle Ages (London, 1954), pp.118, 124.

Illuminated Manuscripts Exhibited in the Grenville Library (London, British Museum, 1967), no. 19.

C. A. Robson, 'Vernacular Scriptures in France', in The Cambridge History of the Bible, 3 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963-1970), 2: The West from the Fathers to the Reformation, ed. by G. W. H. Lampe (1969), pp. 436-52 (p. 447).

Bruce Watson, 'The Place of the Cuerden Psalter in English Illumination', Gesta, 9 (1970), 34-41 (p. 40).

Francis Klingender, Animals in Art and Thought to the end of the Middle Ages, ed. by Evelyn Antal and John Harthan (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971), p. 413, pl. 246.

Philippe Verdier, Peter Brieger and 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. 56.

François Avril, L'enluminure à l'époque gothique 1200-1420 (n. pl.: Bibliotheque de l'image, 1979), p. 39.

Lucy Freeman Sandler, Gothic Manuscripts 1285-1385, 2 vols, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 5 (London: Harvey Miller, 1986), I, pp. 24, 27, II, no. 1.

G. Evelyn Hutchinson, 'Attitudes toward Nature in Medieval England: The Alphonso and Bird Psalters', Isis, 65 (1974), 5-37.

A.G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.700-1600 in the Department of Manuscripts, The British Library (London, 1979), I, no. 296.

The Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagent England 1200-1400, ed. by Jonathan Alexander and Paul Binski (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1987), no. 357 [exhibition catalogue].

Susan H. Cavanaugh, 'Royal Books: King John to Richard II', The Library, 6th series, 10 (1988), 304-16 (p. 306).

Michelle Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 (London: British Library, 1990), pl. 29.

John A. Goodall, 'Heraldry in the Decoration of English Medieval Manuscripts', Antiquaries Journal, 77 (1997), 179-220

Ruth Dean and Maureen Bolton, Anglo-Norman Literature, A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1999), no. 854.

John Higgitt, The Murthly Hours: Devotion, Literacy and Luxury in Paris, England and the Gaelic West (London: British Library, 2000), pp. 61, 69, 85, 97, 116, 117, 122, 124, 159.

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, vol 10 (London: British Library, 2002), pp. 1-33 (p. 6).

Michaela Braesel, ‘The Influence of Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts on the Pre-Raphaelites and the Early Poetry of William Morris’, Journal of William Morris Studies 15.4 (2004), 41-54 (p. 52 n. 19).

The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, ed. by Paul Binski and Stella Panayotova (London: Harvey Miller, 2005), pp. 191, 281.

Jean A. Givens, Observation and Image-Making in Gothic Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 164, pl. II.

Joe Flatman, Ships and Shipping in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2009), pl. 16.

Scot McKendrick, John Lowden, and Kathleen Doyle, Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (London: British Library, 2011), no. 17 [exhibition catalogue].

Nicholas Vincent, 'The Great Lost Library of England's Medieval Kings' in1000 Years of Royal Books and Manuscripts, ed. by Kathleen Doyle and Scot McKendrick (London: The British Library, 2013), pp. 73-112 (pp. 97-98).

Anne R. Stanton, 'Design, Devotion, and Durability in Gothic Prayer Books', in Manuscripta Illuminata: Approaches to Understanding Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, ed. by Colum Hourihane (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), 87-107 (pp. 93-101).
Last revised: 14 February 2017


Images

ff. 5-136
Psalter ('The Alphonso Psalter') (formerly known as 'The Tenison Psalter')
* * *
 
Four saints

f. 2
Four saints
Four saints

f. 2v
Four saints
Catherine

f. 2v
Catherine
 
Margaret

f. 2v
Margaret
Barbara

f. 2v
Barbara
Passion

f. 4
Passion
 
Cuttings

f. 4v
Cuttings
December

f. 10v
December
King David

f. 11
King David
 
King David harping

f. 11
King David harping
David and Goliath

f. 11
David and Goliath
Text page

f. 12
Text page
 
Marginalia

f. 12
Marginalia
Marginalia

f. 12v
Marginalia
Mermaid

f. 13
Mermaid
 
Mermaid

f. 13
Mermaid
Noblewoman hunting

f. 13v
Noblewoman hunting
Noblewoman hunting

f. 13v
Noblewoman hunting
 
Courtly scene

f. 14v
Courtly scene
Birds and angel

f. 16v
Birds and angel
Knight and griffin

f. 18
Knight and griffin
 
Knight and griffin

f. 18
Knight and griffin
Marginalia

f. 18v
Marginalia

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