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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.

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