Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Franciscan Liturgical Psalter, Initial D with fool holding a club and eating a loaf of bread, Walters Manuscript W.111, fol. 113v

This Psalter was made for Franciscan Use in Cologne in the late thirteenth century. It was owned in the late fifteenth or sixteenth century by the Augustinian nuns of St. Cecilia in Cologne, who added the Calendar, the Breviary texts, prayers, and the Collect at the end. The manuscript is written in Latin and in the Ripuarisch dialect spoken in the Cologne region. The historiated initials, as well as bar borders topped with grotesque compare closely in their style to Walters Ms. W.41 and to the two graduals made for the Franciscans of Cologne in 1299 by Johannes von Valkenburg (Cologne, Diözesanbibliothek, Ms. 1B, and in Bonn, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. 384). As a whole, it is a well preserved example of High Gothic illumination in Cologne.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Psalter of St. Mary of Strasbourg, Crucifixion, Walters Manuscript W.69, fol. 3r

This Latin Psalter was made in the second half of the thirteenth century for use in the Diocese of Constance, Germany. By the fourteenth century, it was owned by the church of St. Mary of Strasbourg, from which it gets its name. The long life and enthusiastic use of the manuscript is attested to by a multitude of added inscriptions, prayers, and antiphons with neumes, most dating to the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. An early system of bookmarking is also evident here, for strips of parchment have been cut in some of the margins and folded through a slit in the page, creating tabs that would have helped the reader navigate through the text. Illumination also served this function, for while a short cycle of images from the life of Christ introduces the manuscript, the rest of the illumination, large decorated initials as well as smaller ones in silver and gold, marked the important psalms for the reader. The style of illumination found here is closely related to two other Psalters from Constance: Sigmaringen, Royal State Archives Ms. 11, and Fulda, Hessische Landesbibliothek Fulda, Ms. Aa 82.