Saturday, 9 May 2020

A Lavishly Illuminated 13th-Century Psalter-Hours Made for a Nun [IV]


In a post almost exactly five years ago, I mentioned that a well-known Psalter-Hours seems to have been owned by a nun, as one of the prayers mentions "our abbess".

Thanks to Beatrice Alai, I have recently become aware of a few online images of illuminated leaves and cuttings at the Graphische Sammlung, Stuttgart. Among them are a leaf and a bifolium from the Psalter-Hours, shown above.

Here are the two sides of the single leaf:

The bifolium has at least two interesting features.

In the petitions that follow the litany of saints we find another mention of 'our abbess':
"Ut pontifices, abbates, & abbatissam nostram ..."

Less obviously, some of the other petitions are very rare, and with further research they will, I suspect, allow the manuscript to be localised, or at least linked to a localisable textual tradition:

The leaves include a few examples of the pen-drawn line-fillers that have often provoked comparison with English manuscripts:

In my description of this manuscript in vol. II of the McCarthy catalogue I mention that while this sort of flamboyant and inventive line-filler is indeed characteristic of England, they can be found elsewhere, even as far afield as Switzerland. For practical reasons I was not able to include images of comparanda, so it might be worthwhile to show some here.

These examples are from Besançon, Bibl. mun., ms. 54, from the diocese of Basel:
[Images from]

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