Psalter with the Hours of the Virgin Mary

Description

The 20 full-page illuminations at the beginning of this Psalter form one of the most outstanding prefatory cycles to survive from late 12th-century England. The manuscript was probably made in Oxford, as its calendar includes a reference to the translation (or reburial) of St Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford, in 1180. 

The absence of an important event, the translation of St Thomas Becket of Canterbury into a new shrine in 1220, suggests that this manuscript was made before that occurred. Each lavishly illuminated page contains two scenes that illustrate events from the life of Christ. 

Several scenes feature scrolls with biblical quotations that supplement and interpret the paintings. This suggests that the original owner of the book may have been able to read Latin or would have viewed the images and read the text with someone who could. 

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

Full title:
Psalter with the Hours of the Virgin Mary
Created:
1st quarter of the 13th century, Oxford
Format:
Manuscript
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Arundel MS 157

Full catalogue details

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