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Psalter; illuminated medieval manuscript on parchment
ILLUMINATED MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT IN LATIN ON PARCHMENT, Southern Germany (diocese of Constance or Augsburg), c. 1240-60. 196 x 145 mm. 117 folios on parchment, missing at least one leaf at end (collation, i-viii8 ix9 [of 8, with quarter sheet added after 1] x8 xi6 xii-xiv8 xv7 [of 8, -8 with loss of text]), no catchwords or signatures, written below top ruled line in an upright Gothic bookhand (justification, 134-140 x 95-96 mm.), ruled in lead, Psalm verses begin with 1-line red or blue initials, opening words of each Psalm following a painted initial begin with 1-line majuscules in red or blue, 3-line red or blue initials with contrasting pen decoration at the beginning of most Psalms, one 3-line painted initial, f. 1v, SEVEN LARGE ILLUMINATED FOLIATE INITIALS, almost full-page to six lines, THREE LARGE HISTORIATED INITIALS, 9- to 12-line. BINDING: Bound in alum-tawed skin over early thick wooden boards with a rounded bevel, almost flush with the bookblock, spine with three raised bands, lower board, single hole in middle, upper board, five bosses, two strap and pin fasteners, fastening back to front (modern hardware and straps), boards show signs of at least two other types of fastenings, a single strap-and-pin fastening closing front to back and catches and clasps fastening back to front, partial remains of a paper label on the spine, now illegible, rebacked with spine laid down, houses in a red, fitted case, pastedown from thirteenth- or fourteenth-century Breviary and from earlier thirteenth-century manuscript. TEXT: The Psalms were the texts devout Christians prayed throughout their life. Psalters were commissioned to mark important occasions, such as marriages. Almost certainly copied for lay use, this German Illuminated Psalter exhibits numerous signs of use throughout, including evidence that it was used to teach children to read. ILLUSTRATION: Painted initials: f. 1, almost full-page illuminated B (for Beatus vir), framed in red, now badly damaged; f. 17, 10-line initial showing St. Francis, now all effaced; f. 27v, 10-line initial ending with a dragon; f. 37, 12-line initial depicting St. Michael slaying the dragon; f. 137v, 6-line initial; f. 48, 11-line initial formed from a winged dragon; f. 60, 9-line initial; f. 71v, 9-line initial with a dragon; f. 73, 9-line initial depicting St. Dominic, with some wear; f. 84, 9-line initial. Artistically, this Psalter is related to important illuminated south German Psalters now in Liverpool and Schaffhausen. The books iconographic program with figurative initials depicting three saints (Michael, Francis, and Dominic) is very unusual. Examples of Psalters with both Francis and Dominic at this date (only decades after they had been canonized) are very rare. PROVENANCE: Evidence of script and decoration suggests a date c. 1240-1260, certainly in Southern Germany, and probably in the diocese of Constance or possibly Augsburg, based on the style of illumination. Careful corrections by a contemporary. There are signs in the marginal additions that this Psalter was used to to teach reading. An inscription in German, dated 1467, indicates that this volume remained in Germany into the fifteenth century, and the damage to the images of St. Francis and St. Dominic may reflect anti-mendicant feeling of that period or even use by a Protestant owner in the sixteenth century. Sold at Sothebys, 10 July 1972, lot 81, when it was bought by Sion Segre Amar (Turin, 1910-2003) for the Comites Latentes Collection, Geneva, MS 99; deaccessioned and sold at Sothebys 20 June 1989, lot 40, and 1 December 1998, lot 69. CONDITION: Dirt and wear to text, lower outer corners ripped away, ff. 41, 113, 116, 117 (slightly into text), severe damage to initials on ff. 1 and 1v, some degree of damage and wear to remaining initials. Full description and photographs available (TM 789).
      [Bookseller: Les Enluminures ]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    


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