Psalter of Robert de Lisle

London, British Library, MS Arundel 83 II


+39 333 9860 410

Illuminated Facsimiles

Psalter of Robert de Lisle

London, British Library, MS Arundel 83 II

Alternative titles
Speculum Theologiae – Salterio de Lisle – Psalter des Robert de Lisle – De-Lisle Psalter – Psautier de Robert de Lisle.
Physical features
Codex on parchment, dimensions 338 x 228 mm, 19 folios.
The present binding was executed by the British Museum in 1963. Brown leather cover, 5 raised bands and gilt lettering on the spine, gilt edges.
Westminster (England), 14th century (ca. 1308-1340).
Uncertain, possibly Robert de Lisle (b. 1288, d. 1344).
The manuscript is named after its first ascertained owner, Robert de Lisle (b. 1288, d. 1344), an English baron in the service of Edward II (b. 1284, d. 1327) and later Edward III (b. 1312, d. 1377). Robert de Lisle was summoned to parliament for the first time in 1311, when his father Warin de Lisle died. He also took part in several military expeditions. In 1339, on the death of his wife Margaret de Beauchamp, daughter of Sir Walter de Beauchamp, he abandoned all his possessions and retired to a convent. On this occasion he gave the Psalter to his daughters Audere and Alborou. See the inscription in his own hand at f. 122v: «JEO ROBE[R]T DE LYLE DONAY CEST LYVERE SUS LE IOUR SAYNCTE KATERINE EN LAN N[OST]RE SEIGNOUR .MYL. CCC .XXXIX. A MA FILLE AUDERE, OUE LA DIEUX BENEYSSOU[N] & LA MOYE. ET APRES SOEN DESES A ALBOROU SA SOER, & ISSY DE SOER, EN SOER, TAUNK COME ASCUNE DE ELES VYVONT. ET APRES REMEYNE A TOUS IOURS A LES DAMES DE CHIKESAUND». In this way, Robert de Lisle stipulated that upon the death of his daughters, the manuscript would remain with «les dames de Chikesaund», an order of nuns in whose convent Audere and Alborou evidently already resided in 1339. In the 16th century, the manuscript belonged to William Howard (b. 1563, d. 1640), an English nobleman and antiquarian, who affixed his name to it in 1590 (f. 117r). It was probably on this occasion that Robert de Lisle’s Psalter was united with another manuscript, MS Arundel 83 I, known as the Howard Psalter. It later became part of the collection of Thomas Howard (b. 1585, d. 1646), 2nd Earl of Arundel, and later of Henry Howard (b. 1628, d. 1684). The latter donated it to the Royal Society in 1667 (see f. 2r of MS Arundel 83 I). Finally, in 1831, the Royal Society sold it to the British Museum along with other manuscripts from Arundel’s collection.
Present repository
In 1973, the manuscript holdings of the British Museum were transferred to the British Library, where Robert de Lisle’s Psalter is currently located.
ChristianityPrivate devotional books.
In the 16th century, the Psalter of Robert de Lisle (MS Arundel 83 II) was united with another manuscript, the Howard Psalter (MS Arundel 83 I). This union was made at the behest of William Howard, who was the owner of both manuscripts, but the two psalters constitute two separate works. MS Arundel 83 II is a fragment of an originally larger work. It includes a Calendar according to the Sarum rite (a variant of the Roman rite in use in England before the Reformation), and a cycle of miniatures and diagrams, introductory to a psalter that has not survived. Part of this cycle is the Speculum theologie, a collection of theological diagrams compiled by the Franciscan preacher John of Metz (Johannes Metensis). On f. 127r there is also a reduction from a 13th century French poetic composition – Le dit des trois morts et trois vifs -, and some verses in Middle English above the miniature of The three living and the three dead.
Latin, Anglo-Norman French, Middle English.
Littera textualis.
12 diagrams with a moral or telogical theme, 10 full-page miniatures, 1 half-page miniature, large initials with foliate decorations, small initials in colours and gold.
Most of the miniatures have been attributed to the Madonna Master (so called because he is the author – among others – of the miniature on f. 131v depicting the Virgin Mary). On the other hand, five miniatures are attributed to the Majesty Master (named after the miniature on f. 130r). These miniatures were added shortly before 1339, when Robert de Lisle gave the manuscript to his daughters Audere and Alborou.

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles®



Il Salterio di Robert de Lisle / De-Lisle Psalter / Salterio de Lisle

Publishers – Scripta Maneant (Reggio Emilia, 2008), by concession of the British Library, in co-edition with Müller und Schindler (Stuttgart/Simbach am Inn, 2008) and Eikon Editores (Madrid, 2008). This is a detailed description of the Scripta Maneant version of the co-edition: Il Salterio di Robert de Lisle.
Limited edition – The co-edition is limited to a worldwide print run of 800 copies in Arabic numeration. A further 40 copies with Roman numeration were produced for documentary and archival purposes. Of the 800 Arabic-numbered copies, Scripta Maneant produced 450.
Type of reproduction – Full-size colour reproduction of the entire original document. The facsimile reproduces the physical characteristics of the original manuscript as closely as possible, with the aim of substituting it in scientific research and in the libraries of bibliophile collectors.
Materials – Special aged parchment-like paper. This version by Scripta Maneant was made using real 22-carat gold leaf for the reproduction of the miniatures.
Binding – Top grain leather cover on wooden boards, blind tooling, three raised bands on the spine, four brass bosses on the front plate, gilt edges. The binding imitates that of the Add. Ms. 18972 of the British Library (Historia Scholastica, ca. 1451).
Commentary – Italian language commentary volume, size 33 x 24 cm, 123 pages, colour and b/w plates. Essays: Lucy Freeman Sandler.
Slipcase – Plexiglas case.
Certificate of authenticity – The certificate is printed on the colophon and authenticated by the British Library Board.
ISBN – 978-88-95847-04-7.

Copyright photos: Illuminated Facsimiles®

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