The Eadwine Psalter is the second of the three copies of the Utrecht Psalter that were copied from it during its long travels before it reached Utrecht at one monastery--Christ Church in Canterbury, England. All three of these books were produced from the same monastery but with very different results, all of them are of very high quality in preparation, scribal work, and painting/illumination. It is interesting the increasing level of detail from psalter to psalter in these four books.
The Utrecht Psalter (France, ca. 820-830) was decorated solely by ink drawings done with the same brown walnut gall ink as the writing.
Then the Harley Psalter (Canterbury, ca.1110-30 w/additions in ca.1140 in London) which keeps with the same illustrations as its predecessor but adds in colored inks as well.
The Eadwine Psalter (Canterbury, ca.1120-60 w/additions in 1160-70) a trilingual (Latin, Old English, and Anglo-French) psalter with several different glosses. The drawings are in a different style than before and there is even more coloring, with the addition of colored washes as well, although the color palette is the same as the Harley, with its use of the light sepia, and high contrast green, blue, and red (with illuminated initials).
|Anglo-Catalan w/painter 2|
|Anglo-Catalan w/painter 1|
The gradual shift in decoration is very interesting with these books, and is a reflection of personal influences, as well as the changes in monastic book production. Different miniatores and illuminators that were probably a part of the monastery gave the drawings different interpretations, and then once we get to the last book it is done around a time when the practice of free-lance artists to paint and illustrate books became prevalent we see a whole change in style in the images (and once in that same book) than we had seen until then.
Focusing now on the Eadwine Psalter, let us take a closer look at the inclusion of all three versions of the psalms: the Gallicanum, the Romanum (with Old English glosses), and the Hebraicum (with Anglo-Norman/French glosses). The page layout for most of the codex is much more complex than the previous copy or the Utrecht Psalter, with a system of three columns, one column is the width of the other two combined and is written in a different size than the others (the Gall one having around 18 lines per page while the others have about 36 per page); this is the one that is the Gallicanum version and the abbreviation Gall is on the bottom of the page (although sometimes it was on the top. The other two versions have similar abbreviations at the bottom to mark which one is written where. There are interlinear glosses for each of the three columns as well as space left above or below for additional glosses and plenty of margin space around the large column.
The rubrics for all three columns is in red (or sometimes gold) and just because the other two are smaller does not necessarily mean that their illuminated initials are any less ornate or detailed, they differ more in size than anything else. While there may be a large amount of different texts being used on the same page it does not seem cluttered or chaotic at all, in fact throughout the codex (with the exceptions of the two instances f.1-4 and f.275-82 where a different person did the layout) there is a great sense of uniformity and clarity. It also probably helps that the vellum used is of very high quality, premium calf vellum that was cut with a lot of waste so that only the flattest, smoothest parts were used. The amount of pages is very impressive considering the size of the manuscript, 455mm x 326mm (roughly 18in x 13in).
The script itself is a hybrid English Vernacular Miniscule with elements from Carolingian scripts and insular ones, and is beautifully done throughout the book. The main text’s script is thick and formal while the smaller writing of the various glosses is thinner and smaller in size. The scribes were chosen so that there would be little deviation in handwriting in order to make the text seem more uniform throughout the entire codex. The ink is sometimes a dark walnut gall ink or sometimes a carbon black for the main text, however the glosses seem to be in a medium brown gall ink.
|(from the left) Gallic version w/interlinear Latin gloss; column Latin of gloss; Roman version w/Old English interlinear gloss; Hebrew version w/Anglo-French interlinear gloss.|
While there is a definite shift in style in the drawings of the Eadwine Psalter from the whimsical wispy drawings of the Utrecht Psalter it still shows the influence of those drawings in the composition of the new drawings. This may in part be from the use of washes and colored inks leading to more solid figures and also undoubtedly because of the different painters involved in painting it. We do see a similarity between the two drawing styles in the landscapes which are still very cloud-like. And while the drawings in the Eadwine do not seem to be replicas of those in the Utrecht they do seem to be using the Utrecht drawings for a basis of the content of the drawings (as well as the actual psalms themselves). Take a look at the first page of psalms of each of these: