Isabella Psalter

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The Isabella Psalter (BSB Cod.gall. 16), also called the Psalter of Queen Isabella[1] or the Psalter of Isabella of England,[2] is a 14th-century volume containing the Book of Psalms, named for Isabella of France, who is herself depicted in it; it was likely a gift upon her betrothal or marriage.[3] The illuminated manuscript is also notable for its bestiary.

Origin and history of the manuscript[edit]

The psalter was produced ca. 1303-1308.[4] Like its "closest relation," the Tickhill Psalter, it shows a French influence and is similar in content and style to the Queen Mary Psalter[5] and the Ormesby Psalter.[6] Like the Queen Mary and Tickhill psalters, and like the Egerton Gospel and the Holkham Picture Bible, some of its captions and illustrations can be traced to the 12th-century Historia scholastica; all these 14th-century manuscripts may have "a thirteenth-century Parisian antecedent, reflected in the Tours Genesis window" (in reference to a window in the clerestory of the Tours Cathedral).[7] It is currently held in the Bavarian State Library, Munich.[6]

According to Donald Drew Egbert, the illuminators belong to the same group that illuminated the Tickhill Psalter.[8] Art historian Ellen Beer, however, states that while there are similarities, Egbert is too quick to identify the illuminators (whom he connects to four other manuscripts as well).[9] According to Beer, two of the illuminators responsible for the Psalter of St. Louis can be recognized in the Isabella Psalter.[10]


The psalter measures 28.7 by 20.2 centimetres (11.3 by 8.0 in) and consists of 131 parchment pages.[11] The first section is a calendar, with two illuminations per page, followed by a section with illuminations of scenes from the Old Testament and a complete bestiary, which (as in the Queen Mary Psalter) are executed as marginalia.[12]


  1. ^ Wier 24
  2. ^ Sweeney 274.
  3. ^ Stanton, "The Queen Mary Psalter" 83.
  4. ^ Weir 77.
  5. ^ Stanton, "From Eve to Bathsheba" 184.
  6. ^ a b Egbert, The Tickhill psalter 11.
  7. ^ Papanicolaou 187.
  8. ^ Egbert, A sister to the Tickhill psalter
  9. ^ Beer, "Gotische Buchmalerei" 165.
  10. ^ Beer, "Pariser Buchmalerei" 79.
  11. ^ "Psalter der Königin Isabella von England."
  12. ^ Stanton, The Queen Mary psalter 44.

External links[edit]