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Carrow Psalter

Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This English manuscript was made in East Anglia in the mid-thirteenth century for a patron with special veneration for St. Olaf, whose life and martyrdom are prominently portrayed in the Beatus initial of Psalm 1. Known as the "Carrow Psalter" due to its later use by the nunnery of Carrow near Norwich, it is more accurately described as a psalter-hours, as it contains, among other texts, the Office of the Dead and the Hours of the Virgin. The manuscript is striking for its rich variety of illuminations, including full-page cycles of saints, martyrs, and biblical scenes, as well as historiated initials within the Psalter, and heraldry added in the fifteenth century to undecorated initials in the Hours of the Virgin. Especially notable is the miniature portraying the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, for after Henry VIII found him guilty of treason in 1538, his image was concealed by gluing a page over it rather than destroying it, and it has since been rediscovered.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • The Naked and the Nude. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1986.
  • The Nativity in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987-1988.
  • From Romanesque to Gothic: Illumination in Transition. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1990.
  • The Psalms of David in the Middle Ages. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1996.
  • The Book of Kings: Art, War, and the Morgan Library's Medieval Picture Bible. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Academy Art Museum, Easton; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton; The Mitchell Gallery, Annapolis; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown. 2002.
  • The Christmas Story: Picturing the Birth of Christ in Medieval Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009-2010.
  • A Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europe. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota. 2016-2017.
Provenance Made in East Anglia, England, mid-13th century; Carrow Priory, Norwich, 15th century [recorded in a 14th or 15th century inscription on fol. 1r]; John Baptist, 3rd Lord Caryll (1716-1780) [his bookplate recorded in 1902, but is no longer extant] [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; George Galway Mills, before 1800 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Mills Sale, London, February 24, 1800; Reverend David T. Powell, first half 19th century [mode of acquisition unknown]; Powell Sale, London, July 31, 1848; 4th Earl of Ashburnham (1797-1878) [Appendix no. XXXIII, his bookplate] [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Yates Thompson, 1897 [his bookplate] [mode of acquisition unknown]; Yates Thompson Sale, Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, 23 March 1920, [no. 34]; Quaritch, 1920, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1920, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Inscription] On spine: Psalter of the Monastery of Carehow near Norwich circa A.D. 1245
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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ca. 1250 (Medieval)
ink and pigments on medium-weight cream-colored parchment bound between boards covered with vellum
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 9 3/4 x W: 7 in. (24.8 x 17.8 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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