The liturgical psalter is one of the most important medieval Christian books and the most frequently and richly illuminated of medieval liturgical manuscripts. In its simplest form the psalter included 150 psalms, preceded by a calendar and followed by the canticles for the daily offices, the litany of saints and collects. This basic structure was very stable throughout the Middle Ages and is found in an overwhelming majority of psalters from different countries. In spite of the similarity of core content, psalters were very variable in their size, decoration, choice of supplementary texts and style of presentation, reflecting the interests and requirements of a wide range of lay and religious patrons.
Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library contains descriptions of 111 psalters from Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain, ranging in date from the ninth to the sixteenth century. Each entry includes a description of contents, decoration, physical makeup and provenance, together with a bibliography. The entries are supplemented by comparative tables and indices to assist the study of illumination, manuscript presentation and the liturgical use of the psalms. Full colour images of pages from each of the manuscripts are also included, some of which are reproduced here for the first time. This catalogue brings together important information on a stunning selection of manuscripts held in the Bodleian Library, providing an invaluable resource for scholars.