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The Breslau Psalter

The Breslau Psalter

Exceptionally sumptuous and imposing, the Breslau Psalter is one of the most impressive manuscripts to have survived from the Middle Ages. This treasure is kept at the world-renowned Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, who say that this ‘Psalter displays the piety, wealth and cosmopolitan tastes of its ducal patrons’.

A perfect facsimile of the Breslau Psalter is brought to you by the team that created our editions of the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospel. The Psalter is now available from Addison Publications, giving you the opportunity to place this glorious book in your own collection.

A magnificent example of European book illumination, the Psalter was created by Italian and Silesian artists, bringing a range of influence and tradition together into one dazzling volume. The pages are rich with gold and jewel-bright colours, and populated with birds and beasts and magical creatures, and figures of hunters and musicians and acrobats.

Made for the Ducal Court in medieval Silesia c. 1255-1267, Breslau is now Wroclaw in Poland. The book was made for a Duchess of Breslau, possibly Anna of Bohemia, daughter-in-law of St. Hedwig and mother of Henry III, Duke of Silesia-Breslau. Silesian Dukes would have the psalter on display, and the book is much larger than psalters created for purely private prayer.

The Breslau Psalter contains the 150 Psalms from the Old Testament and the Canticles. The primary artist responsible for the Italian and Byzantine influences was the Master of Giovanni da Gaibana, and there is also work by his Associate. Seven local Silesian artists bring a Northern European tradition, and the book as a whole is the product of the movement and exchange of artistic influence throughout Medieval Europe.

The book has 294 pages (147 leaves) and contains 28 full page miniatures, 10 pages with historiated initials, 168 margin miniatures, gold initials and gold and coloured line decoration. It is rich with decoration and colour. There are 36 calendar medallions. The dimensions of the Breslau Psalter are c.32.6 x 22.7 cm.

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