MINIATURIST, English
(active around 730 in Canterbury)

Vespasian Psalter

c. 730
Manuscript (Cotton Ms. Vespasian A. I), 240 x 190 mm
British Library, London

This manuscript of 160 folios originates from St. Augustine Abbey in Canterbury. It contains prefaces, canticles, hymns and liturgical texts. The text is the earliest surviving example of St Jerome's first translation of the Psalms (the Roman version), first written c. 384. The late medieval monks in Canterbury believed the Psalter was one of the books which had belonged to St. Augustine himself. In fact, the book must have been made over a hundred years after Augustine had died.

The picture shows folios 30v-31r. The miniature on the left is the only full-page miniature in gold and colours, depicting King David, enthroned, and his musicians; the scene is enclosed by an arched border that contains scrollwork and interlacing in gold and colours as well as four roundels featuring the eagles and dogs. The text is in insular uncial.