Horae et Psalterium

Collection History

The New York Public Library possesses one of the largest and finest collections of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts in North America, yet its manuscript holdings are scarcely known to scholars, much less to a wide public audience. Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts are vehicles of the collective memory of western European culture, and provide a material connection between the scribes, illuminators, and patrons who produced these works and the audiences who view them today.

The works represent diverse genres, from Bibles and missals to romance literature and science texts. Dating from the turn of the 10th century until well into the period of the Renaissance, these works give vivid testimony to the creative impulses of the often nameless craftsmen who continually discovered new ways of animating the contents of hand-produced books through inventive and sometimes exuberant manipulations of all the elements of the book: form and format, layout, script, decoration, illustration, and binding.

Drawn from the Library's Spencer Collection and the Manuscripts and Archives Division, these works focus on the 9th through the 16th centuries -- seven hundred years of profound political, ecclesiastical, social, and intellectual change in Western Europe and the world. Among these rare items are a 10th-century Ottonian manuscript, with its imitation of Byzantine textile with gold decoration; the Towneley Lectionary, illuminated by Giulio Clovio (once praised as the "Michelangelo of small works"), which originated in Rome and probably belonged to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese; and a late 15th-century Book of Hours, which represents the leading style of illumination from Besançon, one of the French Regional Schools.

Background

"The Digital Scriptorium" originated in the mid-1990s as an image database, intended to unite scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. NYPL curators have augmented the Digital Scriptorium's primary documentation of NYPL's contribution of 259 manuscript parts with images of the works' most significant illuminations. Some works in this digital presentation also appeared in the exhibition, "The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library," held October 21, 2005 - February 12, 2006 in the Library's D. Samuel and Jeane H. Gottesman Exhibition Hall.

- Collection History and Background text excerpted from the press release and exhibition catalog descriptions for "The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library."

Related Resources

Alexander, Jonathan J. G., James H. Marrow, and Lucy Freedman Sandler. The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library. (2005)

NYPL. "The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library." (2005-2006) <http://www.nypl.org/research/calendar/exhib/hssl/hsslexhibdesc.cfm?id=354>

University of California, Berkeley. "The Digital Scriptorium." (c1996-2004) <http://www.digital-scriptorium.org>

Collection Data

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1450
Library locations
Spencer Collection
Shelf locator: Spencer Collection Ms. 003
Genres
Manuscripts, Medieval
Notes
Ownership : Part II written for Lady Anne (Neville) Stafford, Duchess of Buckingham (d. 1480). Both parts owned by Richard Wingfield (d. 1525). Sale by Evans (1817) to Saunders. Owned (1864) by George Folliott. Sold 1894 to Henry Yates Thompson.

Content : De Ricci, 1335-6. Scott and James entries. Library dossier. Chart by Dr. G.B. Guest.

Content : Two distinct manuscripts bound into 1 volume.

Content : Book of Hours has 23 large miniatures with grotesques, flowers, vines etc. in borders. 10 small miniatures, and 7 small historiated initials.

Book of Hours hase 5- and 6-line red and blue initials on gold fields. 3-line gold initials on blue and red fields. 1-line blue and gold initials with red and black penwork. Rubrics, red placemarkers, linefillers. Full borders around miniatures, partial elsewhere.

Some sources call the Hours English; Scott writes that except for ff. 7-10 and 17, which are English additions, the decorative and illustrative work in the Hours is Continental, probably Franco-Flemish. Scott also dates the Hours tentatively to ca. 1470.

F. 7 of the Book of Hours begins mid-sentence.

24 long lines per page, ruled in red ink. Some catchwords visible. Collation of Psalter: I-III#^8#; IV#^7#; V-VII#^8#; VIII#^7#; IX-XVI#^8#; XVII#^7#.

Parchment

Content : Psalter has six large miniatures with grotesques, animals, vines, leaves, flowers in borders.

Psalter has 6-line blue and red initials on gold fields. 3-line gold initials on red and blue fields. 1-line blue and gold initials with red and black penwork. Rubrics, linefillers. Elaborate full borders around miniatures, partial borders on other folios.

Psalter believed to be produced for Anne Neville, Duchess of Buckingham, sometime between c.1450 and her second marriage in 1474, according to Scott.

Brief note written in cursive hand on f. 133 of the Psalter
Physical Description
Extent: 106 and 133 ff. ; 28 x 19 cm.
Extent: Ff. iii + 106 + 133 + i, 285 x 185 mm.
Type of Resource
Text
Languages
Latin
Identifiers
UUID: 87887ae0-c6d6-012f-21f7-3c075448cc4b
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