Macclesfield Psalter by Medieval

An illuminated manuscript with 252 richly illustrated pages probably produced at Gorleston at a time when East Anglia was one of the foremost artistic centres in Europe.


Details

Category:
Religious
Medium:
Gold & tempera on vellum Dimensions: 17 x 10.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£500,000 ( Total: £1,685,600; Export stopped)
Acquired in:
2005
Vendor:
Through Sotheby's

The manuscript is a fascinating record of medieval humour, teeming with bizarre and imaginative marginal illustrations. Perhaps the chief joy of the work is the secular imagery in the margins, which displays an uninhibited humour and inventiveness of Monty Pythonesque proportions. Images include a dog dressed as a bishop, an ape giving medical advice to a bear, grotesques with faces in their bottoms and legs growing from their shoulders, a rabbit riding a hound, a trouserless man pulling a dragon's tongue, and an astonishingly naturalistic giant skate which swims across the page. It was acquired after a high profile campaign was launched by the Art Fund to raise the funds and the grant includes a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation.

Provenance

Commissioned by a patron of St. Andrew's church, Gorleston, Sussex; East Anglian convent in later Middle Ages; by 1600 Anthony Watson and John Smeaton; Sir Thomas Parker probaby when he purchased Shirburn Castle in 1716; Earl of Macclesfield; Sotheby's 2004.

Venue details

Fitzwilliam Museum Trumpington Street, Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 1RB 01223 332900 www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

Entry details

Free entry to all
Free exhibitions to all

Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm
Sun & Bank Holidays 12noon – 5pm

Closed Mon, 24 – 26, 31 Dec and 1 Jan

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