c 1180-1200 Medieval Psalter Leaf - St Stephen


Original leaf from a late 12th century medieval Psalter and Hymnal. Latin text, in rounded gothic script, on animal vellum, in brown ink. 22 lines with seventeen illuminated one-line initials alternating in burnished gold and deep blue.(136 x 100mm - 5.4 x 4") 

One large nine-line illuminated initial in deep blue with delicate white tracery on a burnished gold ground and inhabited with the standing figure of St. Stephen wearing a salmon colored robe and having an orange halo. The initial is surrounded by a black, salmon and white border. (For a sister leaf to this very early Spanish Psalter, see Magg’s European Bulletin 15, #51).

Spain (Seville?), c. 1180 -1200.

The illuminated ''S'' begins Psalm 68 (King James 69) 1-15 – Sailors’ Psalm: ''Salvum me…'' (Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul. I stick fast in the mire of the deep: and there is no sure standing.  I am come into the depth of the sea: and a tempest hath overwhelmed me...).

The devout were expected to engage in a series of daily devotions, structured around the reading of the Psalms. In the Middle Ages all 150 psalms were to be recited each day, but as this proved impractical, the sequence was restructured to encompass a full week!

Presented in an archival 14x11'' mat.

  • Inventory# IM-6963