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Psalter and Offices: MS 288

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Current Location: In storage


Psalter and Offices




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i contemporary parchment flyleaf (leaf containing Psalms 1 – 2, discarded and used as pastedown) + 219 fols. + i contemporary parchment flyleaf (legal document in Old French used as pastedown), 203 x 130 (105 x 70) mm, 24 long lines, ruled in crayon, two leaves lost between fols. 13 and 14, stitch holes fromn protective curtains above illumination on fols. 13 and 14.

BINDING: seventeenth century, brown leather over pasteboards, sewn on seven supports

CONTENTS: fols. 1r – 4v Prayers for confession and Mass (in Latin and Old French); fols. 4v – 5r Five Joys of the Virgin; fols. 5v – 6r Table of Lambert le Bègue; fol. 6v Table and instructions for bloodletting (in Old French); fols. 7r – 12r Calendar; fol. 13r Salve regina misericordie and collects for the Virgin and Sts Catherine and Agnes; fol. 14r Prayer to Christ, Sire donez nostre orisons
fols. 14v – 115r Psalter, Gallican; fols. 115v – 121r Canticles; fols. 121r – 126r Litany with prayers and collects; fol. 126v Five Joys of the Virgin; fols. 126v – 162r Office of the Nativity of the Virgin, with suffrages to Sts Lambert and Barbara; fols. 162r – 170r Office of the Annunciation; fols. 170v – 180v Office of the Purification; fols. 181r – 189r Office of the Assumption; fols. 189r – 210r Office of the Dead; fols. 210r – 213r Prayer of 49 Aves (in Old French verse)
fols. 213r – 215r Prayer of 50 Aves (in Old French verse); fols. 215r – 219v Prayer of 77 Aves (in Old French verse).

DECORATION: Three historiated initials on gold grounds, with gold, blue and pink bands extending into full or partial borders supporting birds and hybrids, for confession and Mass prayers: fol. 1r [I, 15 ll.] Woman confessing to a priest; fol. 2r [M, 10 ll.] Celebrant confessing before Mass, three women kneeling behind; fol. 2v [P, 9 ll.] Priest offering communion to three women at altar.

Full borders with foliage, animals, hybrids, human heads and nude supporting quasi-heraldic shield for Table of Lambert le Bègue (fols. 5v – 6r)

Bas-de-page scene and three-sided border with foliage, hybrids and masks for Table and instructions for bloodletting: fol. 6v Two women visiting apothecary, one of his apprentices bringing herbs, the other grinding the with mortar and pestle.

Small Calendar miniatures of Zodiac signs and labours of the month in lozenges inscribed within quatrefoils: fol. 7r January, Warming by fire, Aquarius; fol. 7v February, Pruning vines, Pisces; fol. 8r March, Clearing trees, Aries; fol. 8v April, Youth holding flower, Taurus; fol. 9r May, Youth playing viol, Gemini holding a coat of arms (azure a lion rampant argent); fol. 9v June, Gathering flowers, Cancer; fol. 10r July, Mowing, Leo; fol. 10v August, Reaping, Virgo holding palm and mirror; fol. 11r September, Treading grapes and drinking, Libra; fol. 11v October, Sowing, Scorpio; fol. 12r November, Feeding pigs, Saggitarius; fol. 12v December, Killing pig, Capricorn.

Full-page miniature on gold ground framed within panels inhabited by birds and monsters: fol. 13v Virgin and Child beneath cusped arches, flanked by St Catherine with crown and sword and St Agnes with lamb and martyr’s palm, three angels above swinging censers, five prophets with scrolls at top, six angels below.

Twenty-six historiated initials in white-patterned blue or pink with partial gold and foliate borders supporting men, animals, birds and hybrids, for main text divisions: fol. 14v Psalm 1, [B, full-page] Christ blessing with the Virgin and St John the Baptist interceding, five prophets with scrolls above and three bishops kneeling in prayer below in upper half, Entombment in lower half; fol. 15r Psalm 2, [Q, 9 ll.], David and Goliath; fol. 31r Psalm 26, [D, 11 ll.] Martyrdom of St Stephen; fol. 40v Psalm 38, [D, 11 ll.], Martyrdom of St Laurence; fol. 48v Psalm 51, [Q, 13 ll.] Martyrdom of St Vincent; fol. 49r Psalm 52, [D, 12 ll.] Dismembered body of St Theodard (entitled ‘St Thiart’) found by monk in woods; fol. 58r Psalm 68, [S, 12 ll.] Martyrdom of St Lambert; fol. 68v Psalm 80, [E, 12 ll.] St Giles, hunted deer, and king-hunter with his squire; fol. 79r Psalm 97, [C, 12 ll.] St Nicholas with a child, devil with processional cross, three women and a dead boy in a ship; fol. 80v Psalm 101, [D, 12 ll.] St Catherine’s body carried to heaven by two angels, Emperor and executioner with swords; fol. 90r Psalm 109, [D, 12 ll.] Martyrdom of St Peter; fol. 115v Canticle of Isaiah, [C, 11 ll.] Martyrdom of St Paul; fol. 126v Office of the Nativity of the Virgin, Vespers [D, 15 ll.] Nativity of the Virgin; fol. 131v Matins, [D, 15 ll.] Agony in the Garden; fol. 140v Lauds, [D, 16 ll.] Betrayal; fol. 145v Prime, [D, 14 ll.] Christ before Pilate; fol. 151r Terce, [D, 13 ll.] Flagellation and Christ before Annas; fol. 153v Sext, [D, 15 ll.] Crucifixion with the Virign, St John, sun and moon, good thief with angel and bad thief with devil taking his soul, and Adam reaching out of coffin and foot of Cross to collect Christ’s blood in chalice, in upper border lion reviving cub, pelican, and phoenix; fol. 156r Nones, [D, 15 ll.] Deposition with the Virgin, St John, St Mary Magdalene and Joseph of Arimathea; fol. 158v Vespers, [D, 14 ll.] Entombment; fol. 159v Compline, [C, 15 ll.] Harrowing of Hell; fol. 162r Office of the Annunciation, [D, 15 ll.] Annunciation; fol. 170v Office of the Purification, [D, 15 ll.] Presentation in the Temple; fol. 181r Office of the Assumption, [D, 14 ll.] Assumption of the Virgin; fol. 189r Office of the Dead, [P, 15 ll.] Priest elevating Host at altar beside hearse; fol. 210r Aves, [A, 15 ll.] Virgin freeing Theophilus from his pact with the devil.

ORNAMENTATION: Alternate red and blue penwork initials [3 ll.] with pen-flourished infill and extensions; alternate red and blue one-line penwork initials.


History note: Probably made for a Beguine in Liège; Rev. E.S. Dewick (1844 – 1917); his bequest, 1917.

Place(s) associated

  • Liége ⪼ Meuse

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1917) by Dewick, Rev. E.S.


13th Century#
Circa 1280 CE - Circa 1290 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Text Height 105 mm Width 70 mm
Page Height 203 mm Width 130 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 'vos proiez' (prayers in French)
  • Location: F.2r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 288
Primary reference Number: 169768
Project ID: 98
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 5 February 2024 Last processed: Monday 5 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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