Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE ( (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

Subscriber: null; date: 16 January 2019

Ormesby Psalter

The Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture
Colum P. Hourihane

Ormesby Psalter 

English illuminated Psalter (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Douce 366; see colour pl. 4:IX, fig. 3) made in the early 14th century in East Anglia. The story of English illumination and bookbinding in East Anglia between the 1280s and the 1330s can be traced in this beautifully preserved manuscript. In its original chemise cover and boards, the earliest phase of decoration is seen in the minor decoration (fols 10r–45v and fols 58r–81v). This work should be compared with the Cambridge University Charter of 1292 (Cambridge University Archives, Luard 7*), suggesting that the book could have been started in Cambridge or Ely in the period 1310–20. An attempt was made to finish the book for the marriage of a member of the Foliot family to a member of the Bardolf family who are shown beside the Tree of Jesse in the added initial B of a Beatus initial at he beginning of the Psalter. This artist can be linked closely with the Gorleston Psalter (London, BL, Add. MS. 49622). A second artist, who may have been working slightly later, added another Beatus initial after this first one and completed Psalm initials in the second and third gatherings. This artist also completed a Psalter made for St Andrew’s Cluniac Priory at Bromholm, Norfolk (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Ashmole 1523) and other manuscripts made in East Anglia. The figures of a bishop and a monk (probably Robert of Ormesby, who eventually gave the book to Norwich Cathedral Priory c. 1325–30) were added over the original text on the first Beatus. The artist of these figures is that of the added Crucifixion page in the Gorleston Psalter, who represents an important Italianate phase in early 14th-century English art.


S. C. Cockerell and M. R. James: Two East Anglian Psalters at the Bodleian Library, Oxford (London, 1926)Find this resource:

    L. Freeman Sandler: Gothic Manuscripts 1285–1385, 2 vols (1986), v of A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, ed. J. J. Alexander (London, 1975–96), no. 43Find this resource:

      F. Law-Turner: Artists, Patrons, and the Sequence of Production in the Ormesby Psalter (Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Douce 366) (PhD, U. London, 1999)Find this resource:

        F. Law-Turner: The Ormesby Psalter: An English Medieval Masterpiece (Oxford, 2009)Find this resource:

          Ormesby Psalter

          3. Ormesby Psalter. Beatus page with Tree of Jesse , c. 1310–20. (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 366, fol. 9v). Photo credit: Bodleian Libraries, The University of Oxford