Tag Archives: St Albans

Book roundup: St. Albans and the Markyate Psalter

St. Albans and the Markyate Psalter: Seeing and Reading in Twelfth-Century England

Edited by Kristen Collins and Matthew Fisher
November 2017 ARC Humanities Press

st albansOne of the most compelling and provocative books of twelfth-century England, the Markyate Psalter was probably produced at St. Albans Abbey between 1120 and 1140. The manuscript has been known by many names: the St. Albans Psalter, the Albani Psalter, the Hildesheim Psalter, and the Psalter of Christina of Markyate. Heralded as a high point of English Romanesque illumination, the manuscript contains the earliest known copy of the saint’s life known as Chanson de St. Alexis. This volume explores the manuscript’s many contexts, reading its texts and images amidst the rising internationalism of the period, marked by the circulation of objects, ideas, and peoples. Some of the leading scholars of twelfth-century manuscript studies here explore the Markyate Psalter, understanding it through new methodologies, pursuing innovative lines of inquiry. The collection shines fresh light on a well-known manuscript, and promises to open important lines of discourse about the book and its readers.

Contents

Abbreviations
Illustrations
Introduction by Kristen Collins and Matthew Fisher
Saint Anselm’s “Grand Tour” and the Full-Page Picture Cycle in the Markyate Psalter by T. A. Heslop
The Patronage and Ownership of the Markyate Psalter by Nigel Morgan
Handling the Letter by Aden Kumler
The Repainting of Psalm 101 and Meaningful Change in the Markyate Psalter by Kristen Collins and Nancy K. Turner
Voicing the Psalms in the Markyate Psalter: Devotional Experience and Experiments with Images and Words by Kerry Boeye
Intercessory Prayer and the Initials of the Markyate Psalter by Rachel Koopmans
La Vie de Saint Alexis and the Alexis Quire in the Crusading Context by Zrinka Stahuljak
The Psalmist and the Saint: David, Alexis, and the Construction of Meaning in a Twelfth-Century Composite Manuscript by Kathryn Gerry
Blindness and Insight, Seeing and Believing: Reading Two Emmaus Sequences from St. Albans by Morgan Powell
Praying with Pictures in the Gough Psalter by Martin Kauffmann
Madness and Innocence: Reading the Infancy Cycle of a Romanesque Vita Christi by Kristen Collins
The St. Albans Psalter Monograph of 1960: Fifty Years Later by J. J. G. Alexander

Author Bio(s)

Kristen Collins is associate curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Matthew Fisher is associate professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Current Exhibition: Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister

albans01bCurrent Exhibition: Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister

Getty Museum of Art, (September 20, 2013–February 2, 2014)

This exhibition brings together two masterpieces of medieval English art: stained glass from Canterbury Cathedral and the St. Albans Psalter, a splendidly illuminated Book of Psalms. Uniting the intimate art of book illumination with monumental glass painting, this exhibition explores how specific texts, prayers, and environments shaped medieval viewers’ understanding of pictures in the era of artistic renewal following the Norman Conquest of England. Life-size paintings on glass depict the ancestors of Christ, and richly ornamented illuminations translate biblical texts into luminous pictures.

The panels of glass have been temporarily de-installed and pages from the St. Albans Psalter, unbound—allowing visitors to experience these works at a proximity enjoyed by few in their long and storied histories. The windows would have been visible to monks sitting in the communal space of the cathedral’s choir, and the psalter was meant to be held in one’s hands as an object of personal devotion.

The early 12th-century manuscript’s graceful, powerfully drawn figures and saturated colors mark the arrival of the Romanesque style of painting in England. The windows from Canterbury, made toward the end of the century, represent this style at its apex and are the finest examples of English Romanesque glass that survive.

For additional information see http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/canterbury/