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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 053: The Peterborough Psalter and Bestiary.

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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 053: The Peterborough Psalter and Bestiary.
Alternate Title:
Psalterium. Chronicon Petroburgense. Bestiarium
Latin and French, Middle (ca. 1400-1600)
ff. 210 + 2
Approximate Date:
[ca. 1300 - 1399]
Parker Manuscripts
CCCC MS 53 contains three separate sections, a psalter, a chronicle of England and Peterborough Abbey, and finally a bestiary. It is called the Peterborough Psalter and Bestiary because the Psalter was adapted for the use of of that abbey, at which time the chronicle was added. The Bestiary, which has been cut down to match the page size of the Psalter, was probably added to the book at some later date. The dating of the Bestiary to c. 1300-10 is earlier by a decade or so than that of the Psalter which is considered to be of c. 1310-20. Both are elaborately illuminated but by quite different artists. The Psalter was originally intended for a patron in the diocese of Norwich as evidenced by the original calendar to which Peterborough entries were added. The original patron, perhaps Oliver de Wisset, was evidently connected with John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey (d. 1304), whose obit is added in the original hand of the calendar. Perhaps during the production of the book the patronage was taken over by Peterborough Abbey because the calendar was adapted to their use and their Litany and Office of the Dead were added to the text, as was a chronicle of the abbey. It was owned by the prior, Hugh de Stukeley, whose name is at the beginning of the book. The Psalter is lavishly illustrated with twenty full page pictures of the Life of Christ, saints, prophets and apostles preceding the Psalter text, some fully painted with gold grounds and others in coloured drawing. The Psalter itself has historiated initials at the liturgical divisions, and many decorative ornamental initials and borders. The artist of the fully painted pictures belongs to a group of artists called the Queen Mary Psalter group after their main work, the Psalter, London, BL MS Royal 2. B. VII. The Bestiary, by a different artist, who also worked on a psalter, Oxford, Jesus College MS D.40, has 101 framed illustrations set in its text.