November 21st, 2013


Art on Thursday: The Macclesfield Psalter

I'm here in UW-Madison's Kohler Art Library killing a little time before choir rehearsal, so an art post seems appropriate tonight. Since we'll be rehearsing both the Vivaldi and Rutter Glorias tonight, the annunciation to the shepherds is the only logical subject, and what better source for such a work than an illuminated songbook? The Macclesfield Psalter is a 14th century illuminated manuscript discovered in the library of the Earl of Macclesfield when it was auctioned off in 2004. The first image below shows fols. 139v–140r of the Psalter, showing Psalm 97: Cantate Domino canticum novum, which translates to "Sing unto the Lord a new canticle." The second shows the detail of the C in Cantate, which contains an illustration of the aforementioned annunciation.

Anonymus (14th century, East Anglia)
The Macclesfield Psalter, fols. 139v–140r, ca. 1330
Ink on parchment
The Macclesfield Psalter, open to fols. 139v–140r at Psalm 97

The Macclesfield Psalter, detail of fol. 139v, depicting the initial C
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England
Images via Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University