Harley Psalter


This Latin Psalter was written and decorated at Christ Church Cathedral Priory, Canterbury in Kent, around 1000 CE.

Although incomplete, it is one of the greatest masterpieces of late Anglo-Saxon book decoration. It is the earliest of three surviving copies of a Carolingian manuscript, known as the Utrecht Psalter.

The Utrecht Psalter was made in or near Reims (northern France) in about 820, and was brought to Canterbury in the late 10th century. It contains a series of line drawings illustrating the psalms, translating them virtually phrase by phrase into pictures.

The Harley Psalter contains more than 100 drawings, and appears to be the work of several people. Each image is created with coloured inks and, although faithful to the original, the lines here are much livelier and more full of movement than those of the Carolingian original. The images here represent Psalms 41-43 (42-44 according to modern numbering).

Browse through the entire manuscript on our Digitised Manuscripts website.

Full title:
Psalter (the 'Harley Psalter')
c. 1000, Canterbury
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Harley MS 603

Full catalogue details

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