Detail View: Sion College manuscripts:

A finely illuminated psalter, written for use in the diocese of York. All the historiated initials of the liturgical divisions and several full-page miniatures, which were pasted in on separate pieces of vellum, have unfortunately been removed. The illustrations of the labours of the months and the signs of the zodiac in the calendar, as well as many ornamented initials and grotesques, remain. Owned by Simon Mepham, also known as Simon Meopham (c.1275-1333), Archbishop of Canterbury. Described in the Burlington Fine Arts Club's 'Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts', 1908, pp. 20-21, no. 44. The decoration is said there to be closely similar to that of no. 103 in the exhibition, a Bible of c.1260-c.1280 (now British Library Add MS 52778; on this see Nigel Morgan, 'Early gothic manuscripts 1250-1285' no. 135). Other products of the same workshop are the 'York Psalter' of c.1260 (British Library Add MS 54179; see Nigel Morgan, 'Early gothic manuscripts 1250-1285' no. 133) and an Apocalypse of c.1255-60. (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Auct. D.4.17; see Nigel Morgan, 'Early gothic manuscripts 1250-1285' no. 131). ff. iv-viii. Blank, except for ownership inscription 'Psalterium pulcherimum d[omp]ni S. de Mepham archiepiscopi', 15th century, at f. 5 recto. ff. 1r-6v. Calendar in blue, red, and black. Feasts in blue include John of Beverley, Augustine, William, Oswald king and martyr, Wilfred (7, 26 May, 8 June, 5 Aug., 12 Oct.) and 'Festiuitas reliquiarum ebor' ecclesie' (Feast of the Relics at York, 19 Oct.). The word 'pape' and feasts of St. Thomas of Canterbury have been erased. 'S (?) Ricardus Rex [Richard II] et anna vxor' and 'Obitus Iohannis B[okyng]ham episcopi Linc' are in pencil in one hand at 6 and 10 March respectively: John Buckingham died at Canterbury on 10 Mar. 1399. The Calendar has 24 small miniatures, one series depicting the signs of the zodiac, and the other the labours of the months. The labours, in star-shaped frames on burnished gold grounds, are as follows: f. 1r. January, feasting. f. 1v. February, man by a fire. f. 2r. March, pruning. f. 2v. April, man holding two sprigs of foliage or flowers. f. 3r. May, falconry. f. 3v. June, weeding. f. 4r. July, scything. f. 4v. August, cutting corn. f. 5r. September, threshing. f. 5v. October, sowing. f. 6r. November, pig pannage. f. 6v. December, slaughter of a bullock. ff. 7r-9v. Now blank: see Physical Description. ff. 10r-123r. Psalms 1-150. All between 'tu propicius' (Psalm xcviii. 8) and 'piencie timor' (Psalm cx. 10) is missing in a gap of probably thirteen leaves after f. 93. ff. 123r-135r. Six ferial canticles, Te deum, Benedicite, Benedictus, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, Quicumque vult, Gloria in excelsis. ff. 135r-139v. Litany. York diocese. Augustine, Paulinus, John, Wilfred, William, Cuthbert, Swithun, Sampson are ninth to sixteenth of confessors, and Hilda, Everildis, and 'Aedeldrida' are the last three of twenty-five virgins. ff. 140-143. Blank.