Bute Psalter

Bute Master
French, NE France and Paris, about 1270-1280; about 1350-1370
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and iron gall ink on parchment bound between wood boards covered with red velvet
6 11/16 x 4 11/16 in.
MS. 46

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Probably made for a noblewoman in the late 1200s, the Bute Psalter is a small prayer book containing all 150 psalms. A number of other additional texts illuminated by an anonymous Parisian painter were added in the mid-1300s. The manuscript's name derives from that of a previous owner, the Marquess of Bute.

A talented and important artist, known as the Bute Master for his work in this book, created the illuminations for the portion of the manuscript dating from the 1200s. He painted 190 historiated initials and numerous marginal drolleries. Instead of giving precedence to the eight major divisions of the psalms as was customary, he devoted a figural scene to every psalm. Furthermore, the illuminations display distinctive, original iconography that may reflect the patron's wishes.

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