Psalter miniatures

Scope and Content

Eleven miniatures, probably cut from the first leaves of a psalter, illustrating scenes from the life of Christ. The subject of each is as follows: Annunciation, Nativity, Annunciation to the Shepherds, Adoration of the Magi, the Last Supper, Flagellation of Christ, Christ Crucified, Women at the Sepulchre, Ascension, Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and Death of the Virgin.

Administrative / Biographical History

A medieval psalter usually comprised a Calendar, the 150 Psalms, and a collection of canticles and creeds. The three text-types worked together in the practice of the Divine Office, the Church's daily public prayer. When a psalter-book was intended for private use as well, other texts, such as prologues, hymns, or favourite prayers were added. The psalter from which the miniatures were taken was probably made in the Ile de France in 1225-1250; the style is similar to that found in the miniatures of the Missal of St Corneille, Compiegne (held at the Bibliotheques Nationales, Paris, as Ms Latin 17318).

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

The volume was bought from Holleyman & Treacher in 1964.

Other Finding Aids

See R. Watson 'Descriptive lists of fragments of medieval manuscripts in the University of London Library' (1976).

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The first 10 miniatures measure 60 x 38mm; the eleventh 48 x 38mm. The verso of each fragment is blank. Gilded ground, painting in brown, light and dark grey, matt red, orange-red, blue and white.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

The miniatures were originally pasted into a late 19th century edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern when the volume was purchased by the University of London Library in 1964.


F. Wormald, 'Some leaves from a thirteenth-century illuminated manuscript in the University of London Library', Librarianship and Literature; Essays in Honour of Jack Pafford (London, 1970).

Geographical Names