British Library, Additional MS 62925
(The Rutland Psalter)


Produced: England, c. 1260
Current Location: British Library, London, England, UK
Manuscript Type: Psalter
Language: Latin
Folios: 195
Illustrated: Yes
Scribe: Several hands (but one main hand)
Binding: 16th century blind stamped binding with armorial panel, gold tooled spine and 2 clasps
Media: Vellum
Script: Textualis Quadrata/Gothic Textualis Semi-quadrata
Dimensions: Height: 28.5 cm Width: 20.5 cm
Folio 59r


The Rutland Psalter: There are many animal scenes in the bottom margin of the manuscript. Many of the animals depicted cannot be positively identified. There are numerous serpents, often with wings, plus fish used as fillers for short lines of the text. There are also many grotesques, unlikely hybrids of two or more beasts plus often human features. The marginal illustrations also include scenes of daily life, people playing games, and musicians and other performers. The marginal illustrations become less common later in the manuscript; there only eight between folio 112r and 143v, and none at all after that.

[Adapted from the British Library description]

There are figural and grotesque bas-de-page scenes on almost every page, including scenes from the bestiary and the Marvels of the East and many of a demonic character.

[Backhouse, 1998, page 80]

Six large miniatures and nine historiated initials mark the liturgical divisions of the text in this outstanding book. Its marginal decoration, which often appears to be frivolous and is generally unconnected with the psalms, includes scenes of everyday life, animals, monsters, grotesques and subjects from mythology. This type of ornament became increasingly fashionable on both sides of the channel during the 13th and early 14th centuries and this is apparently the first major example of it in English illumination.

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