Canterbury or Anglo-Catalan Psalter

Description

The Canterbury Psalter is amongst the most lavishly illustrated of English manuscripts. The luxurious decoration is particularly extensive, and features eight full-page prefatory images of the biblical story and 47 large illustrations for individual Psalms. Its name derives from the place it was made – the Benedictine monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury. The book is sometimes known as the Anglo-Catalan Psalter, because some of its illustration was left unfinished and was completed several centuries later in Catalonia.

The Psalter is extraordinarily rich textually as well as visually, as it contains all three versions of the Psalms traditionally ascribed to St Jerome (b. 347, d. 420). Most Psalters consist of either the Roman (for its use in Rome and southern Italy) or the Gallican (widely used in Gaul) versions of the Psalms. However, the Canterbury Psalter includes these together with the Hebraicum, a translation made from the Hebrew that was never used liturgically. Moreover, there is a fourth version present in the interlinear translation of the Psalms into Anglo-Norman French, written above the Hebraicum text. A few lines of Old English are also included in the Psalter.

This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.

Full title:
Canterbury or Anglo-Catalan Psalter
Created:
4th quarter of the 12th century, Canterbury
Format:
Manuscript
Language:
Latin / Anglo Norman / Old English
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Shelfmark:
Latin 8846

Full catalogue details

Related articles

English manuscript illumination

Article by:
Kathleen Doyle, Eleanor Jackson
Themes:
Christian religion and belief, Art and illumination, Making manuscripts

Manuscripts reflect the creativity of artists and scribes, and the resources of their patrons. Kathleen Doyle and Eleanor Jackson outline the development of book art in early medieval England.

Glossed Psalters

Article by:
Tuija Ainonen, Kathleen Doyle
Themes:
History and learning, Christian religion and belief

Manuscripts containing commentaries on the book of Psalms were widely circulated during the medieval period. Tuija Ainonen and Kathleen Doyle examine some of these glossed volumes.

Old English after the Norman Conquest

Article by:
Calum Cockburn
Themes:
History and learning, Science and nature

Calum Cockburn explores what happened to the writing of the vernacular after William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066.