Superlative Initial on an Italian Glossed Psalter


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PRICE: $$4500; $2200


Italian Liturgical Psalter, Glossed. Two folios on vellum. Northern Italy, ca. 1220: 279 mm x 178 mm. Three columns, the bible text ruled for 16 lines. Ruled in plummet often resembling hard-point, with furrows and ridges. Contemporary foliations “108” and “166” in the lower margin of the leaves. Decoration: one very large initial D, 45 mm x 45 mm, not counting the extension, in colored pigments on a black background with delicate white-lead tracery. One and two-line rubricated initials; rubrics. Text: the decorative folio has Ps. 109 Dixit dominus domino meo (complete) and an Alleluia from Ps. 9, “Confitebor tibi domine in toto corde”; the second folio has Ps. 146.8 Qui producit … 146.11 misericordia eius (end), then Ps. 147 (complete), then Ps. 148.1 Laudate dominum … 148.2 Laudate eum. The glosses are from the Glossa ordinaria. Both text and glosses are written in handsome, regular hands. Curious for the genre of glossed Psalters is the preparation of this specimen for liturgical use (Ps. 109 begins one of the eight liturgical divisions of the Psalter). Not only does Ps. 109 have a grand initial, but the remains of a tab also indicate the division. Condition: excellent, with very light thumbing from use. The leaf without decoration has two stitches of basting in the upper margin, holding together a small split.

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