Magnificent English Gothic Revival Illuminated Manuscript
THE BARONESS GRANTHAM PSALTER, c. 1834
(THE SEVEN PENITENTIAL PSALMS OF DAVID)
CALLIGRAPHIC AND ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT IN GOLD AND OTHER COLORS ON VELLUM, 14 leaves interleaved with paper, cream silk doublures, and original black velvet binding embroidered in silver wire. One of the most laboriously and luxuriously decorated manuscripts which ushered in the Victorian Era with a noble provenance.
A superlative example of English Gothic Revival manuscript illumination in original nineteenth century deep blue-black velvet over boards, embroidered on both panels in very fine Sterling Silver wire, in a Celtic strapwork design. End-leaves and doublures of watered silk, embellished with six gilt rules.
Contents: The Seven Penitential Psalms (PS 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) here take the same form seen in the 1662 Church of England Book of Common Prayer. They are beautifully presented on fourteen vellum leaves written in varicolored inks with each individual Psalm accomplished in emulation of a different Medieval style or scriptorium - with a fine full page miniature of King David with his harp as frontispiece, and with illuminated title and dedication leaves as well. Each text leaf is enclosed within an illuminated border, and each heavily illuminated in silver and gold, including line breaks and fillers, and more than 160 letters individually worked in gold, most on divided bi-colored grounds, plus thirty-eight initial capitals worked in white and violet on grounds of gold, with the Charge of the Family Crest (a gold Chevron on a green ground, charged with three golden deer) on the dedication leaf. The vellum leaves are separated by fine paper, one bearing a Whatman watermark dated 1830.
Provenance: A gift to Lady Henrietta Frances (1784 - 1848), Baroness Grantham, circa 1834 (possibly on the occasion of her 50th birthday). The book was the work of her daughters, Lady Anne Weddell Florence who executed the illumination and calligraphy, and Lady Mary Gertrude Weddell who crafted the embroidered binding. According to a contemporary note tipped to the back endleaf: on the Baroness' meeting with Queen Victoria and the Queen's son, the Duke of Kent in 1839, Victoria herself prayed from the Psalter, and remarked upon the book's surpassing beauty.
Lady Henrietta Frances (1784-1848) was the daughter of the first Earl of Enniskillen. In 1805 she married Sir Thomas Philip Robinson (1781-1859), Baron Grantham. Her husband, a Tory politician and statesman, held the titles of 5th Baron Lucas, 3rd Baron Grantham, 6th Baronet Robinson. His name was legally changed to Weddell, and then changed in to Thomas Philip de Grey upon succession to the title of 2nd Earl de Grey and Baron of Crudwell in 1833 - when Lady Henrietta Frances became Countess de Grey. He served as Privy Councilor, First Lord of the Admiralty and as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Two daughters survived into adulthood: Lady Anne Florence (1806-80), Baroness Lucas, married George, 6th Earl Cowper in 1833 and was known as Countess Cowper; and Lady Mary Gertrude (1809-1892), married Henry Vyner in 1832. Their daughter married George Robinson, 1st Marquess Ripon, Viceroy of India and a Member of every Liberal Cabinet from 1861 till his death in 1909.