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Psalter and Hymnal: MS 37-1950

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Psalter and Hymnal


Artist: Giovanni, Gherardo di
Scribe: Carmignano, Antonio di Francesco Sinibaldi da




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i paper flyleaf + i contemporary parchment flyleaf+ 208 fols. + i stub of a contemporary parchment flyleaf + i paper flyleaf (foliated 209), 193 x 125 mm (113 x 60 mm), 20 long lines, ruled in hard point.

BINDING: Seventeenth century, gold-stamped dark blue morocco over pasteboards, gilt and gauffered edges, Medici arms painted on fore-edge, arms of Nicholas Fouquet (1615-1680) gold-stamped on spine.

CONTENTS: fol. 1v Incipit page ; fols. 2r-161r Psalter (Gallican); fols. 162r-208r Hymns for week days, Epiphany, the Nativity of the Virgin, the feasts of Saints Agatha and Benedict, from Lent to Ascension, the feasts of Saints Peter, Paul and Martin, Confessors, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, from Lent to Corpus Christi, Conversion of St Paul, Chair of St Peter, Saints John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, Mary Magdalene, Peter ‘in chains’, Assumption of the Virgin, St Michael, All Saints, Common of Saints, dedication of a church, and St Mary Magdalene.

DECORATION: Half-page framed miniature: fol. 2r Psalm 1, Penitent David playing psaltery in a landscape and looking up to a vision of the Trinity (Throne of Mercy), with full all’ antica style border with gems, pearls, cornucopiae, flaming lopped branches (bronconi), shields with the Medici arms supported by putti, three vignettes showing the Annunciation (upper border), the Adoration of the Child (outer border), and the Last Judgement with Christ enthroned among the saints and St Michael standing between the blessed and the damned (lower border), and five medallions enclosing prophets’ busts with scrolls inscribed: FEMINA CIRCUNDABIT VIRUM (Jer. xxx.22) (top left), B…TZA TUA SUM (top right), PARVULUS NATU[S] EST (Is. xx.6) (centre left), EDUCA[M] VOS DE SEPULCRO (Ez. xxxvii.12) (bottom left), and ECCE CU[M] NUBIBUS (Dan. vii.13) (bottom right).

ORNAMENTATION: Framed incipit page inscribed in gold epigraphic capitals on blue ground and surrounded by flaming, lopped branches (bronconi) delicately executed in gold ink, two shields with the Medici arms within wreaths supported by putti, and three pieces of jewellery suspended from a coral necklace, all on parchment dyed green, now faded (fol. 1v); opening verses of Psalm 1 written in gold ink, with ornamentation formed of flaming bronconi, on blue ground (fol. 2r); gold initials [2 ll.] shaped of stylized, flaming bronconi for psalms, canticles and hymns, those for the Psalms of the eight-fold division and the opening initial to the Hymnal [P, 3 ll.] set on blue, red and pale green ground, and accompanied by one-sided floral borders occasionally including putti or birds; alternate gold and blue one-line verse initials.


History note: Made for a member of the Medici family, Florence; Nicolas Fouquet (1615-1680) (arms on spine), whose collection was sold in Paris in 1668; Philip Carteret Webb (1702-1770), Barrister, FSA, FRS; his sale, London, Baker & Leigh, 25 Feb. – 14 March 1771, probably lot 2796; Michael Wodhull (1740-1816), who acquired it on 28 Jan. 1797 (ownership inscription, fol. 209r); C.W. Loscombe of Clifton; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 19 June 1854, lot 1173; purchased by Sir William Tite (1798-1873), a dealer’s price code and ownership inscription, ‘From the Library of C.W. Loscombe, July 1854, W. Tite’, on verso of paper flyleaf at front; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 30 May 1874, lot 2416; Bernard Quaritch, Catalogues 1880, no. 84 and 1886, no. 35764; purchased from him by Henry Yates Thompson (1838–1928) on 6 Jan. 1894 (his bookplate inside upper cover, Sydney Cockerell’s note ‘Comp. Eg 1148 of BM’ on recto of parchment flyleaf at front); his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 23 March 1920, lot 62; purchased by Thomas H. Riches (1856 – 1935); his bequest, 1935 (received in 1950).

Place(s) associated

  • Florence

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1935) by Riches, Thomas Henry


15th Century, fourth quarter
Circa 1475 CE - Circa 1480 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Beatus vir
  • Location: Fol. 2r
  • Type: Secundo folio
  • Text: Qui habitat
  • Location: Fol. 3r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 37-1950
Primary reference Number: 82401
Project ID: 3553
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 13 November 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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