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Psalter: MS McClean 40

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Object information

Current Location: In storage






PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + 224 fols. + ii paper flyleaves, 132 x 95 (88 – 92 x 57) mm, 17 long lines, ruled in black ink, leaves lost after fol. 220 and text supplied in slightly later hand on fols. 221r – 223v.

BINDING: eighteenth century, brown leather over pasteboards, gold-tooled spine.

CONTENTS: fols. 2r – 7v Calendar; fol. 8r Table of Sunday letters; fol. 8v Roundels for establishing Sunday letters in leap years and Golden numbers
fol. 9r Table relating the Zodiac Signs to parts of the human body; fols. 10r – 205v Psalter, Gallican; fols. 205v – 223v Canticles, Te Deum, Athanasian Creed.

ORNAMENTATION: Blue and pink initials [7 – 12 ll.] with white floral ornament, acanthus and foliage infill on gold grounds, and full or partial acanthus and floral spraywork borders for Psalms 1, 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97, 109 (fols. 10r, 40r, 59r, 77r, 94v, 117v, 139r, 161v); identical initials [6 ll.] with two-sided borders for Psalms 51 and 101 (fols. 76r, 141v); blue initials [3 – 5 ll.] with white floral ornament, acanthus and foliage infill on gold grounds, and partial acanthus and floral spraywork borders for Psalms 24, 102, 119 (fol. 37r, fol. 144r, fol. 181v) and Canticles of Isaiah and Moses (fol. 205v, 208v); gold initials [2 – 3 ll.] on blue and pink white-patterned grounds with occasional partial spraywork borders and animals (nimbed eagle on fol. 11v, hound chasing hares on fol. 41v, hare blowing horn fol. 81v; stag on fol. 105v, hound chasing stag on fol. 145v); alternate red and blue one-line penwork initials.


History note: Made for a Brigittine in Cologne (Calendar); wedding gift for Johanna von Prantt from her father (sixteenth-century inscription, fol. 1v); Charles Robert des Ruffières (bookplate inside upper cover); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 27 February – 4 March 1899, lot 1759; purchased by Frank McClean (1837 – 1904); his bequest, 1904

Place(s) associated

  • Cologne ⪼ Germany

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


15th Century, Mid#
Production date: circa AD 1450

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: [medita]tati sunt inania
  • Location: Fol. 11r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 40
Primary reference Number: 170705
Project ID: 19
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Psalter" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-25 06:29:22

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