Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, lat. 8846 Illustrated Triple Psalter ("The Paris Psalter")

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Phillip Pulsiano
Matthew T. Hussey


432. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, lat. 8846

Illustrated Triple Psalter ("The Paris Psalter")

[Ker Supp. 419, Gneuss-]

HISTORY: An unfinished deluxe illustrated tripartite Psalter with an extensive corpus of Latin marginal and interlinear glosses on the Gallicanum, from the Latin "Glossa Ordinaria"; a continuous Anglo-Norman French gloss to the Hebraicum; and a few scattered OE glosses to the Romanum. Pace Heimann's positing of an intermediate copy (Heimann 1975), the manuscript is probably a direct copy of the "Eadwine Psalter" ( Cambridge, Trinity College R. 17. 1 [85]), as well as possibly making direct use of the "Utrecht Psalter" (Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek 32, Stirnemann in Gibson et al. 1992: 186-191). The Psalter dates to the late 12c (c. 1170-1190), written and partly illustrated in Canterbury, but appears to have come to Catalonia by the 14c (Meiss 1941), where the program of illustrations may have been completed by an artist known as the Master of San Marcos between 1350 and 1370 (Sclafer and Laffitte et al. 1997: 39) Although ending at Ps. 98.6, the Psalter is not physically incomplete; rather, the omission of Latin marginal commentary after the first verse of Ps. 98 and of the AngloNorman gloss from f. 174v suggests that the work was abandoned. Listed by Delisle (1863-74) and described by Leroquais (1940-41: 2: 78-91), who treats each miniature in the manuscript. In two 19c references to an inventory of the library of Jean Due de Berry (1340-1416) from the Archives du Cher, Comte de Bastard (1792-1883) claimed the inventory had a clear reference to a manuscript that could only have been this Psalter. Delisle was unable to confirm the reference, since the inventory was lost in a fire in the Archives du Cher (see Stirnemann in Gibson et al. 1992: 192; Sclafer and Laffitte et al. 1997: 37-39). After its possible stint in Jean Due de Berry's library, the book can be traced to the Library of Margaret of Austria ( 1480-1530, regent of the Netherlands) and it appears in inventories of Margaret's library from 1516 and 1523. According to an inventory of 1565, the book had passed to Margaret's niece, Marie of Hungary (1505-1559), sister of Charles V (1500-1558). Her ex libris plate was attached to the previous binding. When Marie died in 1559, the book entered the Library of Burgundy in Brussels, where it was inventoried in 1615-1617 for Archdukes Albert (1559-1621) and Isabella (1566-1633). In 1794, the manuscript was transferred from Brussels to Paris, entering into the Bibliotheque Nationale from the library of Napoleon I (1769-1821); its Napoleonic binding was made in 1809 by P. Lefebvre (Sclafer and Laffitte et al. 1997).

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