Royal Coats of Arms in a Medieval Psalter

Making my way through the ‘Aberdeen Psalter’ at the NLS, I was surprised to discover the rampant lion of the Scottish coat of arms on its first page (following the calendar).   I was unaware of many other liturgical manuscripts from the later Middle Ages with a similar device, and the possible connection to the royal court is most intriguing.  Keen to find similar manuscripts, Steve Boardman’s advice led me to the Book of Hours of James IV and Margaret.

It is definitely of a completely different kettle of fish, in terms of both quality and production (script, illuminations etc.).  Both manuscripts, however, are a product of the Low Countries (though decades apart; more on provenance and illuminations soon!), and the the arms themselves are very similar – in both cases appearing immediately after the calendar.

Always keen to implement new technology, I thought of trying Google Image search on the relevant part of the image.  Cut and

slightly aligned, the rampart lion was sent to the web.  The results were somehow different than originally envisioned, and the best match is here below.

Well – the search will continue in more traditional means.




In September 2011 a new project on the Medieval Bible in Scotland was launched.  With the support of the Carnegie Trust, it seeks to explore the fascinating (and little known) uses of the Bible in medieval Scotland, as well as analyse the wealth of biblical manuscripts in Scottish libraries nowadays.   Later this year two short conferences, workshops and an exhibition will assist in diving deeper into the material evidence.

In the meanwhile, while making my way through the manuscript evidence, this blog will provide information, forum for discussion, tentative discoveries and announcements.  Any comments are always welcome!

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