The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark B.11.4
Manuscript Title


Alternative Title


James Number 243
Date Cent. xiii (1250-70?).
Century 13th
Physical Description

19 lines to a page, in a large and noble hand.


Given by ?. Possibly it is the Psalterium cum picturis mentioned among MSti ad Collegium pertinentes in the Memoriale (R.17.8). On the fly-leaf is 'Officium B. Mariae alterum.'

Second Folio (in libro) Beatus vir.
Size (cm) 29.5 x 21.5
Folio ff.190
Binding In a binding of late xvith cent.? with a gold ornament in the centre of each cover. Clasps gone.
Material Parchment
Language Latin

Kal6 Pict?6 (wants 6) 18-48 (2 canc.) 58 68 (1 or 2 canc.) 78 (8 canc.) 88 98 (8 canc.) 108-208 216 228 rest gone

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 30/04/2013


The pictures prefixed to the text resemble intimately those in a MS. at Munich (Lat. 835) of English execution, as my friend Dr Arthur Haseloff informs me.

f.1 Kalendar in black, red and blue: not full
f.vii Five leaves of pictures
f.1 Psalter
f.154b Cantica ending with Quicunque uult
f.170 Litany, one leaf only left ending in the invocations of apostles
Sancte mathee
S thoma
S symon.

In the Kalendar I note
Jan. 29. S. Valerii Ep. et conf.
Feb. 1. S. Brigide V. in black.
2. S. Brigide V. in red.
Mar. 18. S. Aedwardi Reg. et M. Passio in a contemporary hand, very black ink.
20. Cuthbert in red.
Ap. 11. Guthlac in red.
19. Ælphegi archiep. in black.
24. Melliti Ep. in black.
30. Erkenwaldi Ep. in red.
May 7. S. Johannis Ep. et conf. de Beuerlaco in black.
9. Translatio S. Andree apostoli et S. Nicholai in black.
13. S. Seruatii Ep. added later.
19. Dunstan in red.
20. S. Ædelberti Reg. et M. in black.
25. Aldelm in black.
26. Bede in black.
June 7. Transl. S. Seruacii Ep. in black added.
15. S. Ædburge in red.
17. S. Botulfi Abb. in red.
21. S. Leufredi Abb. C. in black.
23. S. Ædeldrithe V. in black.
July 1. S. Swithuni Ep. in red.
3. Trans. S. Thome Ap. in red.
6. S. Sexburge V. in red.
7. S. Grimbaldi C. in black.
13. S. Silee Apost. in red.
S. Mildrithe in black.
15. S. Swithuni Ep. transl. in black.
17. S. Kenelmi M. in black.
18. S. Ernulfi Ep. M. in black.
S. Ædburge in blue.
22. S. Wandre(gisil) in black.
Aug. 5. S. Oswaldi Reg. M. in black.
7. S. Donati Ep. in red.
11. S. Taurini Ep. in black.
31. S. Gabrielis archang. added (xiv?).
Sept. 4. Transl. S. Birini et Cuthberti in red.
5. S. Bertini Abb. in black.
13. S. Maurilii Ep. C. in red.
17. S. Lamberti Ep. M. in black.
Oct. 6. S. Fidei V. M. in red.
7. S. Osithe in black.
8. S. Paulini Ep. C. in black.
9. S. Ædelburge in black.
10. S. Wilfridi Ep. "
Nov. 14. S. Erkenwaldi Ep. in black.
20. S. Ædmundi Reg. M. in blue.
Dec. 3. S. Birini Ep. in black.
13. S. Judoci Ep. C. in black.
S. Thomas Becket's name (and the word papa) are erased.

The Kalendar so far as it is distinctive points to London. It is unfortunate that the Litany is gone.

On f.25b at the end of Ps. xxvi. (xxv.) is the following note in a fine large hand of cent. xiii.
Fest aremembrer qe dame Ide de Ralegh' ad apreste a daun Water Hone Abbee de Neweham cest sauter a terme de sa uie. e si la diste dame Ide suruit le dist abbe . qe la diste dame Ide qe le eit arere. e si le abbe auant dist suruit la diste dame Ide qe le abbee charge cez moygnes a maunder le dist sauter a dame Johane de Roches noneyne dil abbee nostre dame de Wyncestre.
An erasure of seven lines of similar writing follows.

The illustrations are as follows:

[i recto-vi verso]Kalendar. Two medallions on the outer margin of each page. Gold
ground, coloured borders.
Jan. 1. Man sits on one of two casks on trestles, and drinks out of a horn: on the cask is a covered jug with spout.
2. Aquarius in cloak only pours water out of vase.
Feb. 3. Man in chair has taken off one boot and warms his bare foot at a fire.
4. Pisces. Looking opposite ways: blue and pink (pike).
Mar. 5. Two women; one digs, one sows from a wooden measure.
6. Aries. Two rams butt each other: tree in centre.
Ap. 7. Man cross-legged on seat between trees: his R. hand extended touches one of them.
8. Taurus. Face to left.
May 9. Man on horse rides to R. hawk on R. hand: with L. hand he takes hand of a maiden in white standing at R. edge of the picture.
10. Gemini. Nude, hold a red shield between them.
June 11. Cuts hay(?) with a short-bladed hooked scythe.
12. Cancer. Six-legged animal with short tail and ridge down his back.
July. 13. Cuts hay with ordinary scythe: another with shears.
14. Leo. Face L.
Aug. 15. One cuts a sheaf with sickle, another stripped threshes with flail.
16. Virgo. In white with raised hand between trees.
Sept. 17. Cuts grapes from vine with sickle and holds the hand of a nude man in a vat.
18. Libra. Held by a man.
Oct. 19. With raised stick under an oak: 3 pigs: one looks up.
20. Scorpius. Four-legged, with head and ears and long curly tail: vertebrae marked.
Nov. 21. Man with axe raised in L. hand, with R. he holds a pig on a table. Two more pigs stand below.
22. Sagittarius. Centaur girt with quiver: a pig hangs at his girdle. His horse-body is blue: he shoots backward.
Dec. 23. Man in cloak and cap at table takes covered cup from a bag.
24. Capricorn. Emerges from cornucopia: face L.

[vii recto-xi verso] Then follow five leaves of pictures on both sides of page, divided into rectangular compartments by plain gold bars bordered with colour. The order is wrong (f.4 should precede f.1), and the series is incomplete.

Grounds alternately pink and blue, with white stars.


25. Two arches. Under L. one, Potiphar's wife has hand on the garment of Joseph who flees on R.
26. Joseph: the butler and baker seated: each holds a long blank scroll. The two on R. have their wrists and ankles fettered closely. Above, arch and turrets.
27. Pharaoh throned with crown and sceptre: the butler kneels with gold cup and removes the cover: the baker with bandaged eyes hangs on a green gallows, his arms bound behind him.
28. Joseph with long scroll talks to Pharaoh throned with head on hand.
29. Joseph in gold hat in two-wheeled car with two horses led by a man. Behind, a barn with sheaves in it.
30. Crowd of six brothers, two asses. Another brother kneels and opens a sack, cup taken out of it by a servant. Joseph throned, with gold fillet, on R.


31. Benjamin taken from Jacob, who sits in grief. One with scroll (Judah) holds Benjamin's hand: two asses: other brothers behind.
32. Joseph on R., the brothers stand on L. Judah has a scroll. The asses are retreating: a sack stands open. Benjamin holds the cup, and Judah holds his hand.
33. Crowd of nine brothers. Joseph rises from chair and kisses Benjamin.
34. Crowd of figures: men, women and children headed by Jacob (riding). They are going down into Egypt.
35. Crowd: four asses. Jacob with scroll kneels before Pharaoh throned. (He seems to have 3 hands: two raised, one with scroll.)
36. Jacob full-face stands between two trees, and with crossed arms blesses Ephraim and Manasseh, who bow.


37. The three Kings crowned in bed: one sits up. Angel with scroll flies down.
38. Massacre of Innocents. Herod throned. Two mailed men: three children in fragments. Two mothers sit on the ground.
39. Flight into Egypt. Joseph not nimbed leads: another man follows.
40. Presentation. Joseph (as before) and maid. The Virgin presents Christ over the altar. Simeon is nimbed.
41. Baptism. Christ in heaped-up water. Angel on R. holds the seamless coat.
42. Transfiguration. Christ stands in mandorla: the three Apostles (small) below. Elias on L. of mandorla. Moses horned on R. Above God's face (beardless) nimbed, and scroll. Gold bands in saltire connect the figures of Christ, the prophets and the 3 Apostles.


43. Entry into Jerusalem. Two Apostles: man over gate with boughs: man spreading garment on the ground.
44. Last Supper. John on the breast of Christ. Judas kneels on the near side of the table to receive the sop. Three other Apostles.
45. Judas with scroll takes a bag from one standing by the seated High Priest. Three arches above.
46. Three Apostles seated with bowed heads. Christ's hand on the nimbus of Peter. He holds a scroll.
47. Betrayal. Kiss of Judas. Christ has a book, the men have lanterns, torches and weapons.
48. Peter: cock on column. Fire below. Maid. On R. a man smites the face of Christ who is blindfold and sits on a heap.


49. Christ full-faced bound to a slender column and scourged by two men.
50. He bears a green cross up a slope. One behind with a whip: one in front pulls a cord round His waist.
51. The three crosses: those of the thieves T-shaped. Longinus and Stephaton (with sponge). Four nails are used.
52. Deposition. The Virgin supports Christ's head and hand, one man the middle of the body, another draws the nails from the feet. John on R. with book.
53. Entombment. Joseph (?) at head. Nicodenns(?) in the centre pours ointment on the body: the Virgin at the feet.
54. Angel with palm sits on the tomb: tefoiled arch below and two guards sleeping. The Three Maries, two with vases.


55. Harrowing of Hell: broken gates one across the other. Christ in loincloth with long cross-staff leads out Adam and Eve to R.: a crowed of nude souls follows.
56. Noli me tangere. Christ with long cross and flag. Magdalene kneels facing L. A tree behind.
57. Supper at Emmaus: under round arch with sun and moon spandrels. Table: on it a loaf in two equal halves. Two men in hats, with wallets, start back and look up at Christ's feet seen above.
58. Incredulity of Thomas. John with book. Thomas kneels and touches Christ's die: six Apostles on R.
59. Ascension. Apostles and Virgin in centre, seated, look up at Christ's feet in clouds.
60. Pentecost. Apostles and Virgin, as above, under trefoiled arch looking up. The Dove descends.


61. Abraham with scroll. Altar. Above it a hand in the cloud. Melchisedech tonsured in chasuble offers host and chalice to Abraham. Trefoiled arch above.
62. Abraham with scroll, bowing to three nimbed angels (the Dove above) who sit under a tree.
63. Falling city in flames: gate-way: Lot's wife looks back. Lot and his daughters advance to R. Angel in cloud with scroll.
64. Sacrifice of Isaac. Angel in cloud with scroll clutches Abraham's sword. Abraham's other hand rests on Isaac, who sits on a draped altar with bound hands and feet. Ram on mound on R. bound to a tree by his neck.
65. Isaac stands on L. with scroll. Eliezer holding a garment looks at Rebekah on camel.
66. Rebekah holds a dead kid. Jacob with scroll and golden bowl stands at the bedside of Isaac, who is bearded and has a scroll. A curtain at his head.


67. Trefoiled arch. Isaac in bed. Esau presents a bowl. Attendant follows with bow and slain beast on stick.
68. Jacob sleeping: under his head a many-coloured slab of marble, two trees at foot. Six angels in two rows on a golden ladder, clouds at top.
69. Angel wrestles with Jacob between two trees.
70. Jacob sits on L. Joseph with bundle on stick and four loaves in his pocket goes toward his brethren.
71. The brethren on L.: one pulls Joseph out of a many-coloured mound: one takes gold from Ishmaelites on R.
72. Ishmaelites (Midianites) present Joseph kneeling to a throned king.


Two compartments only: gold ground.
73. Christ full-face as Judge shows His hands. Clouds below. Angel on L. with covered hands presents the scourge and crown of thorns, one on R. shows the cross.
74. Red ground. An angel leads a crowd of the blessed (Pope, two kings, etc.) to L. Angel on R. with sword drives a crowd (Bishop, two kings, etc.) into Hell-mouth. In centre below three dead rising: a woman, a man pulling off his garment, a king (Solomon?) looking towards Hell.


Twelve compartments: the lower ones damaged.
75. Black ground. Four nude figures.
76. Green ground. Two devils, and serpents biting a crowd of nude souls.
77. Black ground. Crowd of souls in Hell-mouth: a devil has the feet of one.
78. Red ground. A devil with cords round two groups of three people: one stretches his hand towards fruit on a tree, another towards water below.
79. Black ground. Two devils: prostrate souls in flames.
80. Red ground. Two devils torment souls in a silver caldron over fire.
81. Black ground. Three tiers of bound souls on gridirons.
82. Black ground. Three souls hanging (two by their feet) on gibbets over fire. Serpents gnaw them.
83. Black ground. Devils bite crowned figures seated over fire.
84. Pink ground. Devil and souls in Hell-mouth.
85. Black ground. Three devils. Seven bishops with a cord round them in caldron over fire.
86. Black ground. Devils and prostrate crowd (one is a king) over fire.

Many of the Psalms have good initials: the line-fillings are also good. Those by the first and best artist cease with f.67: up to f.122b they are omitted: on that page they recommence in a markedly coarse style, and continue to the end of the book. Beatus vir is not specially marked, for the leaf which had its picture is gone.

[f.6r]Domine dominus noster has Christ half-length with book.
[f.12r]Domine quis habitabit. Man and bear.
[f.19v]Domine in virtute. Man wrestles with lion(?).
xxi.b [f.20r] Deer.
xxiii. [f.23r] Lion.
[f.26r]Dominus illuminatio. Unction of David: gold ground. God's hand above, and angel with crown and cloth. David in gold bordered dalmatic. Man on R. with harp and book. At top L. corner David as a boy with scrip; sword and helmet on the ground.
[f.36v]Dixit iniustus. Cat or grey squirrel.
[f.39v]Domine in furore. Man and dragon.
[f.41r]Dixi custodiam. Gold ground. Throned king, with hand out: a man kneels with drawn sword. Man, woman and child stand by.
[f.51r]Deus deorum. Christ half-length with book, trees in front, and hill
[f.54r]Quid gloriaris. Large, gold ground. Under a turreted arch, two soldiers, one with sword, attack priest with chalice at altar.
[f.54v]Dixit insipiens. Large. King on throne stabs himself: queen behind tears her hair. A devil in air takes the nude soul out of the king's mouth.
Here the line-fillings cease.
[f.68r]Salvum me fac. Large, gold ground. Christ on the cross: sun and moon: Longinus with spear. Stephaton with sponge. At the foot seated angel with scroll and three Maries: the tomb is marble, and has linen in it.
[f.85r]Exultate. Large, gold ground. Above. Christ with book, blessing, between two angels who play harp and fiddle.
Below. L. Jacob reclining, head on a stone: clouds above. Angel on ladder R.
Jacob wrestling with angel.
[f.89v]Domine deus salutis. Christ (or Prophet) half-length with book
[f.100v]Cantate domino. Large: gold ground. Angel approaches two shepherds on R. on a mound, surprised, sheep below.
[f.103v]Domine exaudi. Above clouds. Christ as Judge. Ange1 with crown and lance. Angel with cross and title.
Below. Nun in black over white, with scro11, and Abbess with pastoral staff knee1 before an altar.
[f.119r]Dixit dominus. Large: gold ground. Italian Trinity. The Father full-face throned: the Crucified Son on a mount: Dove. Instead of the Father's face is a gold circle enclosing a cross in a quatrefoil. Two half-length angels hold the sun and moon. At each side is a nun adoring. Under arches below God's feet are three prostrate enemies: one is crowned.
[f. 146v]Domine clamaui Virgin crowned and Child; seated; she holds a lily.


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Christe, Y., Judgements Derniers, Les Formes de la Nuit 12 (La Pierre-qui-Vire, 1999)

Davlin, M. C., The Place of God in Piers Plowman and Medieval Art (Aldershot, 2001)

Kessler, H. L., 'Turning a Blind Eye: Medieval Art and the Dynamics of Contemplation', in The mind's eye : art and theological argument in the Middle Ages, ed. J. F. Hamburger and A. Bouché (Princeton, c2006)

Kolve, V. A., Telling Images, Further Studies in Chaucer's Narrative Iconography (Stanford, 2009)

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