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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1250 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink, pigments and gold on parchment. Red calf binding on wooden boards with metal clasps.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    National Art Library

Physical description

Foliation: parchment. i-ii (card paper, inserted as part of the 19th-century repair) + 180 + iii-iv (as ff.i-ii) ff.

Number of lines: 18-19 lines.

Language: Latin.

Script: German Gothic book script.

Textual content
ff. 1r-8v: Calendar, half full. Major feasts include many Cistercians.
ff. 9r-40r: Common of the saints, part of a Breviary.
ff. 41v-180v: Psalter (with breaks indicated by major initials), followed by Canticles.

Major initials:
f. 41v: Beatus vir, Psalm 1: full-page initial B (blue interlace strapwork letter-shape, the terminals with small fleur-de-lys and dragons’ heads, with curling stems and leaves of green and red, small white tendrils as highlighted ornament, the whole on a burnished gold ground within a moulded frame of green, pink and red.
f. 84r: Quid Gloriaris in malitia, Psalm 51: full-page initial G with a lower compartment for a red and blue dragon with interlaced foliate tail supporting the letter-shape.
ff. 60r, 72v, 85r, 96r, 110v, 124r, 126v, 139r: 10- to 14-line initials matching those of ff. 41v and 84r. f. 96r with a winged dragon as the letter-shape.
Minor initials introducing each Psalm. Letter-shape of burnished gold bounded by a red ink line, infill of stems and leaves drawn in red, the whole upon a monochrome blue ground with some green or red.

(1) 19th century. Calf leather, died crimson red, over wooden boards with simple ornament of blind-ruled lines. Spine in 4 compartments between 3 raised bands.
(2) 15th century (?). sewn on three stations, probably split leather thongs, onto wooden boards; clasps on fore-edge, reused in the 19th-century binding.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


ca.1250 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Ink, pigments and gold on parchment. Red calf binding on wooden boards with metal clasps.


Height: 175 mm, Width: 130 mm, Height: 130 mm Text block - Calendar, Width: 100-105 mm Text block - Calendar, Height: 130 mm Text block, Width: 95 mm Text block, Height: 145 mm Text block, Width: 95 mm Text block

Object history note

(1) Written in a German Cistercian monastery probably in the mid-13th century.
(2) Inscribed 'Christina Reutterin von Meintw ist das Büch' in a 17th-century hand (f.41r).
(3) Bought from F.S. Ellis in 1870.

Descriptive line

Manuscript, Psalter, Germany, c. 1250.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

pl. 5
Bradley, J.W. Historical introduction to the collection of illuminated letters and borders in the National Art Library. London: 1901.
p. 386
Ker, N.R. Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries I. Oxford: 1967.
Cistercienserchronik, Neue Folge, 61/62, Dec. 1962, p. 47.
Schneider, A. Deutsche und französische Cistercienser-Handschriften in englishen Bibliotheken, 1962, no. 20.
p. 54
Whalley, J.I.The pen's excellencie. Calligraphy of western Europe and America. Tunbridge Wells: 1980.
p. 10, no. 14
Whalley, J.I. and V.Kaden (eds.). The universal penman. A survey of western calligraphy from the Roman period to 1980. London: 1980.
p. 18
Harthan J.P.An introduction to illuminated manuscripts. London: 1983.
p. 22, pl. 17
Watson, R. Illuminated manuscripts and their makers. An account based on the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. London, 2003.
p. 155
Davies, G. and K. Kennedy. Medieval and Renaissance Art: People and Possessions. London, 2009.
vol. 1, pp. 76-81, cat. 11
Watson, R. Western Illuminated Manuscripts.Victoria and Albert Museum. A catalogue of works in the National Art Library from the eleventh to the early twentieth century, with a complete account of the George Reid Collection. London, 2011.


Parchment; Ink; Pigments; Gold; Calf leather; Wood




National Art Library; Books; Manuscripts; Medieval and renaissance

Production Type



National Art Library

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