The layout in Utrecht Psalters, Harley and other psalters.
Manuscripts of the Middle Ages
Study of François Murez - www.francois-murez.com
This study follows the one written on the composition of the Bayeux Tapestry (see : Musicality in the Bayeux Tapestry). Indeed, work on this composition led to an interest in what was done at the same time in the same workshops. This embroidery brings us to look more closely at the Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, starting with the Harley Psalter.
Harley Psalter - British Library.
Folios 7v and 8r
Harley Psalter (ca 1020):
Take a few folios removed from the site of the British Library.
On this page, the design is drawn around the text. Each line of text is positioned by a hard point on the sheet.
Go from there, with the idea that the layout could be strongly governed by these points.
At that time, the square is a figure often used (see the Bayeux Tapestry), apply it to our Psalter. In this idea, draw 32 vertical lines spaced the same distance as the horizontal lines, we thus form a square. By a desire not to overload, all vertical lines are not reproduced in the image below.
What gives this picture?
In this folio, the design is created by another hand, is surrounded by text, unlike previously.
Similarly, the vertical lines place the text, but with a slight difference. Two spaces outside the text are used to place the
large capital "D" while in the previous portfolio, one was enough. So, there remains a space
on the right instead of the previous two. This gives:
These three folios are designed by a third artist.
Utrecht Psalter (ca. 820):
Consider three examples of folios and apply our grid.
These three examples of folios of the Utrecht Psalter mount the same grid was used on Harley and Utrecht.
Likewise, the drawings do not have geometric composition that might rely on the grid. The
drawings fill the space allocated in the grid but do not rely on it.
Bury Saint Edmunds Psalter (XIth):
Start from the idea of grid based on the distance between two lines and apply the same approach.
Determine the space between two lines that form the basis of our grid.
Apply this space from the vertical.
Capital letters are held in a vertical space. The drawings on the right and left in four spaces.
On this psalter, the layout has a different logic simpler although the notion of relying on the distance between two lines
to calibrate the vertical layout is again considered. The drawing remains outside the text, the designer and
scribe do not have to worry about the other one in the realization of the page.
Psalter of Paris - MS Latin 8824 (XIth):
The psalter, from the same time as that of Bury, has the same layout. Drawings, fairly basic, however, are embedded in the text.
By applying the same process as above, we see that the same layout is adopted. The drawings have a space, but are not compounds relative to the grid.
Eadwine Psalter (ca 1150):
The Eadwine Psalter was made after that of Harley.
Follow the same approach starting from the distance between the major lines of the central text.
Apply a horizontal grid based on this space, on the entire folio.
Appear the following:
Appear the following:
Consider the space between two lines of the main text.
Apply this distance on the top of folio.
Again, the design is well positioned on the horizontal lines so drawn. Large upper case have 3 and 2 spaces.
The characters in the top of the drawing are positioned on the vertical as well as texts.
Eadwine Psalter - Paris - Latin MS 8846 (ca 1170):
This Psalter is a little after that of Eadwine.
The layout has much resemblance to that of Eadwine, apply the same principle.
Apply to the entire folio.
The bottom of the drawing sits on a green horizontal. Lines of text are either on a red or on a green line.
The characters and elements of design are punctuated by vertical, the text also.
The drawing has a vertical and horizontal symmetry. A beautiful cross is provided on the folio ...
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