¶ Windmill psalter (late 13th century) [MS]

September 8, 2017

13th cent.

Windmill psalter.

Illuminated manuscript. England, possibly London, late 13th century. 167 leaves.

With the following note by Sydney Cockerell: “This was the last book bought by William Morris. He already owned 4 leaves of it, and did not know of the existence of the rest until the two portions were exhibited side by side at the rooms of the Society of Antiquaries in June, 1896.” Morris gave the manuscript its name in honor of an image of a windmill that appears in the text. Cockerell recorded in his diary (29 August 1896) that Morris, by now terminally ill, “looked at the Windmill Psalter in the afn. & was pleased with it,” and as Morris approached death, Cockerell, in a letter to Philip Webb (13 September 1896), reported that it was “the one he loves best” (British Library Add. Ms. 52760, fol. 18).

Marginal notes by Cockerell in Morgan Catalogue 4: (1) “The price paid by Morris to Lord Aldenham for his portion of the book was £1000. He obtained the four other leaves from C. Fairfax Murray in exchange for an Italian historical MS (all pictures) of the 15th century. I bought the Italian pictures (8 leaves) at the Fairfax Murray sale at Sotheby’s July 24 1919 lot 50.” (2) “It originally also contained the Office of the Dead. I bought a leaf of this in a volume of fragments from the Phillipps collection.”

When Morgan acquired the manuscript from Bennett in 1902, it included two letters, one from F. S. Ellis to Lord Aldenham (?), 22 February 1878, and the other from John Ruskin, 30 April 1880.

Provenance: Henry Hucks Gibbs, 1st Baron Aldenham (purchased about 1860). — Morris (purchased from Lord Aldenham, 6 July 1896, for £1,000). — Bennett. — Morgan Library (MS M.102).

References: Additional bibliography (Morgan Library). — Curatorial description (Morgan Library). — de Ricci, 2:1385, no. 102. — Morgan Catalogue 4, no. 19. — Schoenberg (SDBM_MS_14335).

Images: Morgan Library.


Morgan Library

Morgan Catalogue 4:


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