Seminario: "Crafting the Old Testament in the Queen Mary Psalter: Image, Text, and Contexts in Early 14th-c. England"

Sala Juan Cabré 2D

Por Kathryn A. Smith (New York University)

This paper considers aspects of the complex design, program, and production of the illuminated Anglo-Norman Old Testament preface in the Queen Mary Psalter (London, British Library MS Royal 2 B VII), among the most richly illustrated manuscripts produced in early fourteenth-century England. In this unique prefatory cycle, apocryphal episodes from the stories of the great Israelite prophets, judges, and kings as well as popular myths about Jewish belief and practice are interpolated with images that transform biblical history into chivalric romance, or that encourage sophisticated scriptural exegesis or topical interpretation. This paper examines evidence for the working methods of the talented artist known as the Queen Mary Master, as well as suggesting sources and analogs for some of his compositions, explicating the ways in which the artist, scribe, and text-compiler creatively adapted their models to craft a singular account of Old Testament history for the manuscript's presumed royal reader-viewer(s). Two fundamental, interrelated concerns of this paper are the image crafted in the preface of the Jews and Judaism, and of the English monarch, in relation to the political, religious, and historical situation in early fourteenth-century England, from which the Jews had been expelled in the previous century.

For all of the images in the Queen Mary Psalter, see the entry in The British Library's Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts at

The manuscript has been digitized cover-to-cover as well: see 

Organiza: Therese Martin (IH, CCHS-CSIC)