The Ormesby Psalter: Patrons and Artists in Medieval East Anglia (Paperback)
  • The Ormesby Psalter: Patrons and Artists in Medieval East Anglia (Paperback)
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The Ormesby Psalter: Patrons and Artists in Medieval East Anglia (Paperback)

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£30.00
Paperback 224 Pages / Published: 18/08/2017
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The Ormesby Psalter is perhaps the most magnificent yet enigmatic of the great Gothic psalters produced in East Anglia in the first half of the fourteenth century. Its pages boast a wealth of decoration picked out in rich colours and burnished gold, and its margins are inhabited by a vibrant crew of beasts, birds and insects. Fantastic imagery proliferates: musicians, mermaids, lovers and warriors are juxtaposed with scenes from everyday life, from chivalric legend, and from folk-tales, fables and riddles. The psalter takes its name from Robert of Ormesby, subprior at Norwich Cathedral Priory in the 1330s. He was not the first owner, however, and it has long been acknowledged that the writing, decoration and binding of the book took place in a series of distinct phases from the late thirteenth to the mid-fourteenth century. The final result was the work of four or five scribes and up to seven illuminators and its pages show a panorama of stylistic development. Unravelling its complexities has sometimes been thought to hold the key to understanding the `East Anglian School', a group of large, luxury manuscripts connected with Norwich Cathedral and Norfolk churches and patrons. This book casts an entirely new light on its history, not only clarifying and dating the successive phases of production, but associating the main work on the manuscript with the patronage of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, one of the greatest magnates of the time. It is extensively illustrated with full-page colour reproductions of the manuscript's main decorated folios, as well as many smaller initials and numerous comparative illustrations.

Publisher: The Bodleian Library
ISBN: 9781851243105
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 666 g
Dimensions: 276 x 192 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'This is a fascinating study of the puzzling luxury psalter made for notable East Anglian families in the early years of the 14th century. Law-Turner's meticulous analysis of the heraldry reveals how the complex relationships of the Foliots and the Bardolfs, families in the circle of John de Warenne, and their continental links to the Dukes of Bar, impacted upon the various phases in the production of this remarkable book. She isolates four distinct campaigns of execution and convincingly attributes one of them to a painter from the distinguished entourage of Renaud de Bar, Bishop of Metz and uncle of Jeanne de Bar, wife of John VII de Warenne. She further sheds important light on the life of Robert of Ormesby and his revisions to the book made before he donated it to Norwich Cathedral Priory, where it underwent still more changes of rebinding and repair by an artist dubbed by Sydney Cockerell as "the Cheap Finisher".' -- Alison Stones
'The majestic Ormesby Psalter is a triumph of medieval English manuscript illumination. Frederica Law-Turner clearly and elegantly explains the book's often enigmatic imagery. The fascinating history of the tome, which took some three quarters of a century to make, reads like one of Ellis Peters' Chronicles of Brother Cadfael. The saga involves an engagement, a stolen wardship, an ambitious ecclesiastic, and a falling steeple - a story well told.' -- Roger S. Wieck

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