British Library, Additional MS 24686
(Alphonso Psalter)


Produced: England (London), 1284
Location: British Library, London, England, UK
Type: Psalter
Language: Latin
Folios: 136
Illustrated: Yes
Media: Vellum
Script: Textualis Quadrata
Dimensions: Height: 24.3 cm Width: 16.7 cm
Folio 12r


Miniatures (6). Major initials historiated (1), decorated and inhabited, with borders (full and partial) and inhabited and zoomorphic. Minor initials decorated and inhabited. Litterae notabiliores with anthropromorphic decoration. Line fillers. Bas-de-page. Armorial decoration. Manufacturing aids (catchwords). Probably commissioned (1284) to celebrate the proposed marriage of Prince Alphonso, son of King Edward I, and Margaret of Holland, aborted by Alphonso's death (August 1284). Includes early examples (1316) of re-used, pasted-in miniatures from a contemporary north French Bible (ff.3v-4v). - [adapted from the British Library description]

Usually regarded as the first major work of the 'East Anglian' period of English gothic illumination, this manuscript was begun to mark the projected marriage of Alphonso ... to Margaret, daughter of Count Florens V of Holland. Alphonso died in 1284 before the marriage could take place and the book remained unfinished for some years. It was completed at the beginning of the 14th century, possibly for his sister Elizabeth... The original decoration is of outstanding delicacy and realism, deriving stylistically from such 'court school' masterpieces as the Oscott Psalter and the Westminster retable. - [Backhouse, 1998, page 99]

Formerly known as the Tenison Psalter.

Additional Descriptions

Additional description

Editions and Facsimiles

Digital facsimiles

British Library