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MS. 86 The Gray Psalter

(old shelfmark **A.86)

Language:Latin, with interlinear English translation
Origin:England, York
Date:20th c., 1949 - 1961
Material:Parchment
Physical Description:ii parchment flyleaves + 74 pages + iii parchment flyleaves, 301 x 195 (200 x 112) mm, 16 long lines (with 13 – 16 interlinear gloss lines) ruled in pencil
Rubric:N/A
Incipit:Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum Blessed is the man who hath not
2o folio:Dominum et adversus
Explicit:Quam magna multitudo dulcedinis. How great is ye multitude of thy sweetness
Contents:pp. 1 – 74, Psalter (Gallican), Ps. 1 – 30 v. 20
Script:Gothic bookhand (textualis); translation in pseudo Gothic bookhand (cursive)
Scribe:George Edward Larman (1895 – 1961)
Artist::George Edward Larman (1895 – 1961)
Decoration:

Beatus initial [ca. 7 l.] in pink and blue with interlacing and white decoration on a gold, red and blue ground, p. 1; 22 historiated initials [2 – 6 l.] in red, blue or pink with white decoration on gold, pink, blue and green grounds, frequently with diaper or foliate patterns, often quartered, for most Psalms; large ornamental initials [3 – 4 l.] in gold or blue or pink with white decoration on bi-coloured or quartered grounds of blue, pink, green and gold, with diapering and foliate motifs, for Ps. 23, 25, 27 – 30; ornamental initials [2 l.] in blue or red with white decoration on plain gold or bi-coloured blue, pink, green and red grounds with white decoration for most Psalm verses; ornamental initials [2 l.] in blue or red with red or blue pen-flourishing for some Psalm verses; display script [ca. 1 l.] in gold on blue and pink ground with white decoration for first words, Ps. 1; bar linefillers in red, blue, green and brown with white foliate and geometric motifs; three-quarter bar and ivy-leaf borders with foliate motifs, grotesques, drolleries and human figures and occasional shields of arms for each page.

p. 1, Beatus initial [B, ca. 7 l.] David harping; shield of arms (gules, a lion rampant argent within a bordure engrailed of the same) and heraldic badge or supporter (a unicorn ermine) in the border. P. 2, Ps. 2 [Q, 5 l.] Arms (Grey of Ruthin and Kent). P. 4, Ps. 3 [D, 5 l.] Arms (gules, a lion rampant argent between 3 flowers of the same, within a bordure engrailed argent). P. 6, Ps. 4 [C, 5 l.] Arms (or, a lion rampant gules). P. 7, Ps. 5 [V, 4 l.] Arms (Grey of Rotherfield, Oxon.). p. 10, Ps. 6 [D, 4 l.] Arms (or, a bend azure). P. 11, Ps. 7 [D, 2 l.] Virgin and Child. P. 14, Ps. 8 [D, 4 l.] Bishop praying before an image of the Virgin Mary. P. 16, Ps. 9 [C, 4 l.] Arms (barry argent and azure, on a bend gules 3 roses argent). P. 22, Ps. 10 [I, 5 l.] King David at prayer, God above. P. 24, Ps. 11 [S, 5 l.] Jonah thrown to whale. P. 25, Ps. 12 [U, 4 l.] David and Goliath. P. 27, Ps. 13 [D, 6 l.] David and Fool; fool and rabbit with fool’s bladder in border. P. 29, Ps. 14 [D, 5 l.] Pope, blessing, seated between two cardinals. P. 30, Ps. 15 [C, 4 l.] David beheading Goliath. P. 32, Ps. 16 [E, 5 l.] David, with harp, before Saul with spear. P. 35, Ps. 17 [D, 4 l.] St Catherine, executioners bringing spiked wheel. P. 44, Ps. 18 [C, 44 l.] Coronation of the Virgin. P. 46, Ps. 19 [E, 3 l.] Christ, half-length, blessing, with orb. P. 48, Ps. 20 [D, 5 l.] Temptation of Christ. P. 50, Ps. 21 [D, 4 l.] Arms (Grey of Ruthin and Kent). P. 55, Ps. 22 [D, 3 l.] Arms (gules, a lion rampant russet). P. 58, Ps. 24 [A, 4 l.] Arms (argent, a bend vert cotised gules)

Provenance:George Edward Larman (1895 – 1961); his bequest to Mrs Norma Hardie (née Gray); her gift to Trinity Hall, 2004
Binding:20th c., ca. 1961, (Sidney Eric Clark, York) brown pigskin over cushioned wooden boards, unbleached endbands
Notes:The Psalter was created as a gift for Miss Norma Gray. The English translation is taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible. A note by Sidney Clark and kept with the MS states that Larman intended to write and illustrate the first 50 Psalms, but died before completing his project. Clark also states that Larman worked on the Psalter from 1949 until his death, and that a number of unfinished leaves were bound separately (now Trinity Hall Ms 86 a). Larman does not appear to have copied an existing medieval Psalter, instead taking inspiration from general 14th century English manuscript decoration. The De Grey Hours (now Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 15537C) contain the arms of Grey of Ruthin and Kent, and may have inspired some of the heraldic decoration. Several of the subjects frequently form part of English medieval Psalter iconographic programmes, but for different Psalms; for example, David and Goliath or David and Saul frequently appear at the start of Ps. 51, David and the Fool at the start of Ps. 52, and the Coronation of the Virgin at the start of Ps. 109. The inclusion of St Catherine is most unusual, and may indicate personal devotion.
Bibliography: 

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