Psalter of Saint Louis

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Scenes from the Life of Christ in the Leiden St Louis Psalter, from which he learned to read

The Psalter of Saint Louis (Bibliothèque nationale de France MS Latin 10525) is an illuminated psalter created for the King Louis IX of France sometime between the death of his mother Blanche of Castile in 1253 and his death in 1270.[1] There are 78 miniatures of Old Testament scenes starting at the story of Cain and Abel and ending with the coronation of Saul, a calendar of feast days, prayers and the 150 psalms. The psalter is in excellent condition and considered a relic of Louis IX, who was canonized in 1297.[2]

It is not to be confused with the "Leiden St Louis Psalter", (Latin, Parchment, 185 folios, 24,5 x 17,7 cm. 23 miniatures. Historiated initials. Northern England, 1190-1200. Leiden, University Library: BPL 76A) originally produced for Geoffrey Plantagenet, Archbishop of York, probably in northern England in the 1190s. The manuscript passed into the hands of Blanche of Castile after Geoffrey's death, and, as religious manuscripts often were, was used to teach the future saint King Louis IX how to read as a child, as a 14th-century inscription records. After the king's death it passed through a number of royal owners, including the Valois Dukes of Burgundy, being regarded as a relic of the saint, before reaching the University Library at Leiden in 1741.[3]


  1. ^ Leroquias p. 564.
  2. ^ Stahl p. 3.
  3. ^ Nigel Morgan, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, Volume 4: Early Gothic Manuscripts, Part 1 1190–1250, Harvey Miller Limited, London, 1982, ISBN 0-19-921026-8, pp. 61–62.


  • Günter Haseloff, Die Psalterillustration im 13. Jahrhunderts.: Studien zur Geschichte der Buchmalerei in England, Frankreich und den Niederlanden. Inaugural-Dissertation, Georg August Universität zu Göttingen, 1938.
  • Victor Leroquais, Les psautiers, manuscrits latins des bibliothèques publiques de France. Mâcon, Protat frères, 1940-41.
  • Robert Branner, Manuscript painting in Paris during the reign of Saint Louis : a study of styles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.
  • Harvey Stahl, Picturing kingship. History and painting in the Psalter of Saint Louis. University Park, Pa., Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008.