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Lewis Psalter Lewis E 185
Free Library of Philadelphia
Manuscript Overview
References
Binding Images

Abstract

This lavish illuminated Gallican Psalter with Canticles, Litany, and Prayers (known as the Lewis Psalter) was produced in Paris in the first half of the thirteenth century, during the reign of Saint Louis. The large and elaborate historiated initial B from Psalm 1, showing David Playing the Harp above, David Slaying Goliath below, and seven attendant musicians in the frame, has been displaced to form the verso of the first folio, ahead of the Prefatory cycle. The sumptuous Prefatory cycle, running from folios 2v to 25r, features forty-eight roundels on twenty-four pages depicting the following scenes: the Annunciation and Visitation (fol. 2v); Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds (fol. 3r); Journey of the Magi and Magi before King Herod (fol. 4v); Adoration of the Magi and Dream of the Magi (fol. 5r); Massacre of the Innocents and Flight into Egypt (fol. 6v); Wedding at Cana and Baptism of Christ (fol. 7v); Presentation in the Temple and First Temptation of Christ (fol. 8v); Second and Third Temptations of Christ (fol. 9r); Transfiguration and Christ Healing the Demoniac (fol. 10v); Entry into Jerusalem and Judas Accepting the Money (fol. 11r); Betrayal of Christ and Peter Denying Christ with Christ before the High Priest (fol. 12v); Flagellation of Christ and Suicide of Judas (fol. 13r); Pilate Washing his Hands and Christ Carrying the Cross (fol. 14v); Crucifixion and Deposition from the Cross (fol. 15r); Entombment and Resurrection (fol. 16v); Three Marys at the Sepulcher and Harrowing of Hell (fol. 17r); Noli me Tangere and Road to Emmaus (fol. 18v); Supper at Emmaus and Doubting Thomas (fol. 19r); Ascension and Pentecost (fol. 20v); Dormition of the Virgin and Coronation of the Virgin (fol. 21r); Christ in Judgment with Mary and John and Angels holding Instruments of the Passion, and the Last Trumpet (fol. 22v); the Blessed escorted to Heaven and the Damned escorted to Hell (fol. 23r); Crowned Martyrs and Souls in Christ's Bosom, and Tortures at the Mouth of Hell (fol. 24v); and Saint Michael and the Devil Weighing Souls, and the Devil taking a Soul and Saint Michael taking a Soul (fol. 25r). The roundels are arranged vertically, two per page, and inset within elaborate diapered frames. They form illustrated page openings alternating with blank page openings. The Psalter text itself is prefaced by a Calendar (fols. 26r-31v) and followed by a Litany (fols. 188v-191r) and four prayers in a different hand with blank initials (fols. 191r-v). The calendar, illustrated by smaller paired roundels showing the respective Labor of the Month and zodiac sign, includes Saint Savianus, and Saints Amatus and Bercharius, whose feast days were celebrated in Sens, north of Paris. The Lewis Psalter is one of eight French manuscripts from the period to include illustrations for every psalm. There are large historiated initials marking each of the major psalm divisions showing, in addition to the Beatus initial for Psalm 1 on fol. 1v: the Coronation and Anointing of David (Psalm 26, fol. 52r); David Pointing to His Tongue and to Christ (Psalm 38, fol. 66r); David and the Fool (Psalm 52, fol. 78v); David in the Watery Deep, below, and Christ Blessing, above (Psalm 68, fol. 91v); David Playing Bells and a Musician Playing a Viol (Psalm 80, fol. 108r); Four Musicians, above, and Pharaoh and His Men Drowning in the Red Sea, below (Psalm 97, fol. 123r); the Trinity (Psalm 109, fol. 139v). There are also smaller historiated initials for each of the remaining psalms, canticles, and the litany, and for each subdivision within Psalm 118. Each psalm is also accompanied by a marginal rubric drawn from the Psalter commentary of Peter Lombard. Marginal penwork flourishes and gilded zoomorphic line-fillers are found throughout the body of the text. The Lewis Psalter has been included amongst the so-called Leber group manuscripts, and is related in style to First Evangeliary of the Sainte Chapelle and, more distantly, to the great Bibles moralis├ęs of Vienna, Toledo, and Oxford. Folios 2r and 191v contain two additional prayers added in a fifteenth- or sixteenth-century hand. The first prayer (fol. 2r) is to Saint Martial of Limoges, indicating a possible early localization for the manuscript.

Physical Description

Support: Parchment; Extent: i+191+i; 228 x 165 mm bound to 238 x 175 mm; Foliation: Modern foliation in pencil, upper right recto; Collation: 1 (9, +1), 2-3 (8), 4 (6), 5-24 (8)

Layout

One column of twenty lines, ruled in red; written area: 148 x 84 mm, edges trimmed

Script

Gothic--textualis semi-quadrata

Decoration

Twenty-five full-page miniatures (prefatory cycle + initial B), twenty-four roundels in calendar, eight large (+/- eight lines) historiated initials, smaller (three-line) historiated initials beginning each of the 150 psalms (as well as divisions in Ps. 118) and canticles throughout, flourished and illuminated initials, illuminated line endings with marginal extensions throughout, some inhabited margins

For a full list of Decorations in this manuscript please see the Content and Decorations section by clicking on the [i] button in the top left corner of the image viewer above.

Notes

Fol. 1, with the Beatus initial for Psalm 1 on its verso side, has been removed from its original position preceding fol. 32r and now forms a flyleaf

Prayer to Saint Martial on fol. 2r, written in a fifteenth-century cursive hand, reads: Sanctus Martialis discipulus Chri[sti] virgo. / Crux enim domini armatura v[est]ra invicta contra satanam galea / custodiens caput. Lorica protegens pectus, clipeus tela maligni / repellens; gladius iniquitatem et angelicas insidias p[ervers]sae potestat[is] / sibi propinquare sinens nullo modo. Hoc solo signa celestis victoria / data est nobis et per crucem baptisma sanctificatum est

Note on fol. 32r, written in a late-sixteenth-century hand (the phrase can be attributed to Louis de Blois [1506-1566]) : Psalmodia, carmen est celeste: et eos a quibus colitur sedulo, ex hominibus in angelos transfigurat

Prayer entitled "Oratio" on fol. 191v, consisting of the Collects for the fifth and seventh Sundays after Trinity, written in a fifteenth- or sixteenth-century hand, reads: Da nobis q[uaesumu]s domine [deus noster] ut et mundi cursus nobis pa[ci]fice tuo ordine / dirigatur : et ecclesia tua tranquilla devotione la[e]tetur. / Deus virtutum cui[u]s totium quod est optimum : infere pecto / ribus n[ost]ris amorem tui nominis et pr[aest]a in nobis religio / nis augmentum; ut qu[a]e sunt bona nutriuas ac pietatis / studio qu[a]e sunt nutrita custodias.

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Keywords
Psalter
13th century
France
French
Christian
Biblical
Scripture
Illustration
Free Library of Philadelphia

Place of Origin

Paris, France

Date

Several entries indicate usage in northwestern or central France, especially Savianus (Aug. 25; first archbishop of Sens), Amatus (Sept. 13) and Bercharius (October 16), both celebrated at the Abbey of Sens; several English saints suggest possible English ownership: Cuthbert (March 20; graded), Abbani (Albanus) (June 22; graded), Suithuni (Swithun) (July 2), Edmund (November 20); lacking important English saints like Dunstan (May 19) and Oswald (August 5); litany includes English saints Oswald, Edmund, Edward, Augustine, Cuthbert, Dunstan, Frideswida, and Ethelrida, indicating possible English usage; early to mid 13th century

Binding

Seventeenth-century, French, black morocco over wooden boards with two clasps; "PSALMODIA" stamped in gold on spine

Language

Latin

Provenance

Limoges (fifteenth century) ?, Henry Gee Barnard (1789-1858) of Cave Castle, Howden, Yorkshire; Clarence Sweet Bement, Philadelphia (1843-1923); Robert Hoe, New York; sale, Anderson Auction Company, New York, 1912, II, lot 2507; John Frederick Lewis, Philadelphia (through A. S. W. Rosenbach); given by his widow, Anne Baker Lewis, to the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1936

return to search Lewis Psalter Lewis E 185

Place of Origin

Paris, France

Date

Several entries indicate usage in northwestern or central France, especially Savianus (Aug. 25; first archbishop of Sens), Amatus (Sept. 13) and Bercharius (October 16), both celebrated at the Abbey of Sens; several English saints suggest possible English ownership: Cuthbert (March 20; graded), Abbani (Albanus) (June 22; graded), Suithuni (Swithun) (July 2), Edmund (November 20); lacking important English saints like Dunstan (May 19) and Oswald (August 5); litany includes English saints Oswald, Edmund, Edward, Augustine, Cuthbert, Dunstan, Frideswida, and Ethelrida, indicating possible English usage; early to mid 13th century

Language

Latin

Provenance

Limoges

Manuscript Overview

Abstract

This lavish illuminated Gallican Psalter with Canticles, Litany, and Prayers (known as the Lewis Psalter) was produced in Paris in the first half of the thirteenth century, during the reign of Saint Louis. The large and elaborate historiated initial B from Psalm 1, showing David Playing the Harp above, David Slaying Goliath below, and seven attendant musicians in the frame, has been displaced to form the verso of the first folio, ahead of the Prefatory cycle. The sumptuous Prefatory cycle, running from folios 2v to 25r, features forty-eight roundels on twenty-four pages depicting the following scenes: the Annunciation and Visitation (fol. 2v); Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds (fol. 3r); Journey of the Magi and Magi before King Herod (fol. 4v); Adoration of the Magi and Dream of the Magi (fol. 5r); Massacre of the Innocents and Flight into Egypt (fol. 6v); Wedding at Cana and Baptism of Christ (fol. 7v); Presentation in the Temple and First Temptation of Christ (fol. 8v); Second and Third Temptations of Christ (fol. 9r); Transfiguration and Christ Healing the Demoniac (fol. 10v); Entry into Jerusalem and Judas Accepting the Money (fol. 11r); Betrayal of Christ and Peter Denying Christ with Christ before the High Priest (fol. 12v); Flagellation of Christ and Suicide of Judas (fol. 13r); Pilate Washing his Hands and Christ Carrying the Cross (fol. 14v); Crucifixion and Deposition from the Cross (fol. 15r); Entombment and Resurrection (fol. 16v); Three Marys at the Sepulcher and Harrowing of Hell (fol. 17r); Noli me Tangere and Road to Emmaus (fol. 18v); Supper at Emmaus and Doubting Thomas (fol. 19r); Ascension and Pentecost (fol. 20v); Dormition of the Virgin and Coronation of the Virgin (fol. 21r); Christ in Judgment with Mary and John and Angels holding Instruments of the Passion, and the Last Trumpet (fol. 22v); the Blessed escorted to Heaven and the Damned escorted to Hell (fol. 23r); Crowned Martyrs and Souls in Christ's Bosom, and Tortures at the Mouth of Hell (fol. 24v); and Saint Michael and the Devil Weighing Souls, and the Devil taking a Soul and Saint Michael taking a Soul (fol. 25r). The roundels are arranged vertically, two per page, and inset within elaborate diapered frames. They form illustrated page openings alternating with blank page openings. The Psalter text itself is prefaced by a Calendar (fols. 26r-31v) and followed by a Litany (fols. 188v-191r) and four prayers in a different hand with blank initials (fols. 191r-v). The calendar, illustrated by smaller paired roundels showing the respective Labor of the Month and zodiac sign, includes Saint Savianus, and Saints Amatus and Bercharius, whose feast days were celebrated in Sens, north of Paris. The Lewis Psalter is one of eight French manuscripts from the period to include illustrations for every psalm. There are large historiated initials marking each of the major psalm divisions showing, in addition to the Beatus initial for Psalm 1 on fol. 1v: the Coronation and Anointing of David (Psalm 26, fol. 52r); David Pointing to His Tongue and to Christ (Psalm 38, fol. 66r); David and the Fool (Psalm 52, fol. 78v); David in the Watery Deep, below, and Christ Blessing, above (Psalm 68, fol. 91v); David Playing Bells and a Musician Playing a Viol (Psalm 80, fol. 108r); Four Musicians, above, and Pharaoh and His Men Drowning in the Red Sea, below (Psalm 97, fol. 123r); the Trinity (Psalm 109, fol. 139v). There are also smaller historiated initials for each of the remaining psalms, canticles, and the litany, and for each subdivision within Psalm 118. Each psalm is also accompanied by a marginal rubric drawn from the Psalter commentary of Peter Lombard. Marginal penwork flourishes and gilded zoomorphic line-fillers are found throughout the body of the text. The Lewis Psalter has been included amongst the so-called Leber group manuscripts, and is related in style to First Evangeliary of the Sainte Chapelle and, more distantly, to the great Bibles moralis├ęs of Vienna, Toledo, and Oxford. Folios 2r and 191v contain two additional prayers added in a fifteenth- or sixteenth-century hand. The first prayer (fol. 2r) is to Saint Martial of Limoges, indicating a possible early localization for the manuscript.

Notes

Fol. 1, with the Beatus initial for Psalm 1 on its verso side, has been removed from its original position preceding fol. 32r and now forms a flyleaf

Prayer to Saint Martial on fol. 2r, written in a fifteenth-century cursive hand, reads: Sanctus Martialis discipulus Chri[sti] virgo. / Crux enim domini armatura v[est]ra invicta contra satanam galea / custodiens caput. Lorica protegens pectus, clipeus tela maligni / repellens; gladius iniquitatem et angelicas insidias p[ervers]sae potestat[is] / sibi propinquare sinens nullo modo. Hoc solo signa celestis victoria / data est nobis et per crucem baptisma sanctificatum est

Note on fol. 32r, written in a late-sixteenth-century hand (the phrase can be attributed to Louis de Blois [1506-1566]) : Psalmodia, carmen est celeste: et eos a quibus colitur sedulo, ex hominibus in angelos transfigurat

Prayer entitled "Oratio" on fol. 191v, consisting of the Collects for the fifth and seventh Sundays after Trinity, written in a fifteenth- or sixteenth-century hand, reads: Da nobis q[uaesumu]s domine [deus noster] ut et mundi cursus nobis pa[ci]fice tuo ordine / dirigatur : et ecclesia tua tranquilla devotione la[e]tetur. / Deus virtutum cui[u]s totium quod est optimum : infere pecto / ribus n[ost]ris amorem tui nominis et pr[aest]a in nobis religio / nis augmentum; ut qu[a]e sunt bona nutriuas ac pietatis / studio qu[a]e sunt nutrita custodias.

Script note

Gothic--textualis semi-quadrata

Decoration Note

Twenty-five full-page miniatures (prefatory cycle + initial B), twenty-four roundels in calendar, eight large (+/- eight lines) historiated initials, smaller (three-line) historiated initials beginning each of the 150 psalms (as well as divisions in Ps. 118) and canticles throughout, flourished and illuminated initials, illuminated line endings with marginal extensions throughout, some inhabited margins

For a full list of Decorations in this manuscript please see the Content and Decorations section by clicking on the [i] button in the top left corner of the image viewer above.

References
Binding Images

These are pages that we pulled aside that disrupted the flow of the manuscript reader. These may be bindings, inserts, bookmarks, and various other oddities.

Print catalog entry unfolded

Spine

Fore edge

Top edge

Bottom edge

Keywords
Psalter
13th century
France
French
Christian
Biblical
Scripture
Illustration
Free Library of Philadelphia
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