Illuminated Psalter from Winchester


In this copy of the Psalms, made in Winchester, the first and second text divisions are enhanced by full-page images in addition to their large decorative initials. The inclusion of scenes from the life of Christ, rather than the more typical scenes of David, reflects a Christological understanding of the Psalms as a prefiguration of Christ’s life and passion.

The Psalms are glossed by the addition of Old English words above the Latin text. Perhaps, then, this elegant copy with its evocative images was intended to enhance the devotional experience of reading the Psalms for a layman. The book was present at the Old Minster, Winchester, by the end of the 11th century – an added inscription gives the number of years since the nativity of Christ as 1099. It also lists the bishops of Winchester, up to the reformer Walkelin (d. 1098).

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

Full title:
Illuminated Psalter from Winchester
4th quarter of the 11th century, Winchester
Latin / Old English
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Arundel MS 60

Full catalogue details

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