The Macclesfield Psalter – Giant Skate Attack

On New Year’s Day 2013, I shared with you that I’d been given permission by Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum to reproduce images from the exquisite medieval illuminated manuscript, The Macclesfield Psalter on my blog.

Over the Christmas break, I poured over facsimile images of the psalter from the Fitzwilliam’s cd/pdf, trying to decide which folios and images to share with you.  As far as I’m aware, the illustrations on the psalter have not been indexed. So as well as marvelling over each image, I also had to painstaking go through the psalter folio by folio writing up descriptions of each image.  I felt like a child running around a shop full of the shiniest and sparkliest sweeties with them all shouting ‘pick me, pick me’!  There are so many images – animals, men, women – along with strange hybrid grotesque creatures and bizarre Monty Python-sque scenes.

I couldn’t resist showing you the image below.  A giant skate (beautifully drawn) attacks a scared man whilst a rat-like creature but with a beak and webbed duck-like feet looks on with menacing glee.   Note also the crowned man in a circle above the skate attack – who is he? Click on the image to open a new window where you can use your browser’s zoom to see the illustration in its full glory (300-400% works best for me).

Macclesfield Psalter - folio 68r Skate attackGiant Skate attacks a man (fo.68r) from The Macclesfield Psalter,
probably produced at Gorleston, East Anglia circa 1330
Gold & tempera on vellum, 17cm x 10.8cm,
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

All digital images from the Macclesfield Psalter appear by courtesy of The Fitzwilliam Museum and may not be reproduced (© The Fitzwilliam Museum).

Further reading
Stella Panayotova The Macclesfield Psalter: A Complete Facsimile (2008)
Stella Panayotova The Macclesfield Psalter Book (Cambridge, 2005)
Stella Panayotova The Macclesfield Psalter (PDF format on CD)(Cambridge, 2005)

If you want to read more  from my blog about The Macclesfield Psalter or about a life in a Tudor Essex town, please do subscribe either by using the ‘Subscribe via Email’ button top right of my blog, or the button at the very bottom.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do ‘Like’ it with the Facebook button below.

You may also be interested in the following
– Images from the British Library’s online images from the early modern period
– Images from the medieval illuminated manuscripts
– The Macclesfield Psalter

© Essex Voices Past 2012-2013.

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