MS. Douce 18
Summary Catalogue no.: 21592
Priest's vade medum including a psalter; English, c. 1433–1475?
Language(s): Latin with additions in Middle English
Fols. i–iii are paper flyleaves, mostly blank (see ‘Provenance’).
[items 1–3 occupy quires I–II]
With references to the sections of the book marked by red letters of the alphabet.
The table lists the contents as they are now, even though the manuscript was not copied consecutively and is the work of several scribes.
[items 4–13 occupy quires III–IX]
Ruled for two columns, but blank apart from the opening lines of St John’s Gospel (partly trimmed off), written in a very small script at the top of the second column.
A coloured drawing on fol. 10v.
With many rubrics.
Blanks left probably for miniatures (see ‘Decoration’) (fols. 16v–17r and elsewhere).
The decoration and text of the Office and prayers are left incomplete. Masses that follow are in a different hand and ink, and were added on the remaining blank leaves of the quire.
Added masses of the feasts of Corpus Christi, Assumption and Nativity of the Virgin, and All Saints’ Day in the same hand and ink as masses and prefaces on fols. 2r–6v.
Introduction to the calendar
Computistical calendar, laid out one month per page, written in black, red and gold (feasts which were intended to be in red are not filled in).
Ink, hand and decoration are the same as in texts on fols. 2r–6v and 36v–41v. Some of the text is traced over in a darker ink.
[items 14–19 occupy quires X–XXVIII]
Using masculine forms, followed by three short prayers to the Virgin Mary and Christ; spaces left for rubrics.
In the biblical order, laid out as prose, with numbers in red Arabic numerals in the original hand. Most psalms are without titles, but occasionally there is a rubric: ‘Incipit secunda quinquagena psalmorum’ at psalm 51 (fol. 112v), ‘Incipit tertia quinquagena’ at psalm 101 (fol. 159r), ‘Commendacio animarum’ and subheadings at psalm 118 (fols. 177v–185v), ‘psalmi graduum’ at psalm 119 (fol. 185v), ‘psalmus 150’ (fol. 203r). At the end the last verse of psalm 150 is written out a second time in red: ‘omnis spiritus laudet dominum’ (fol. 203r). Punctuated throughout, with punctus used to mark the ends of verses and punctus elevatus used to mark metrum. There are textual divisions at psalms 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101, 118 and 119. The leaf which originally contained psalm 109 is now lost after fol. 172 (missing text 109: 1–110: 4); the second leaf of the bifolium is also lost after fol. 178 (missing text 118: 24–42). Subdivisions within psalms are not indicated, apart from psalm 118, subdivided into twenty-two 8-verse units.
The Psalms section is ruled in ink with single vertical and double horizontal bounding lines, extending the full height and width of page; written below the top line. Fols. 1r–6v, 36v–41v, 56v–66v, 256r–259v are ruled for 27 to 33 lines, written space: c. 78–84 × 50–60 mm. .
Fols. 7r–36r, 42r–v, 53v–56r are ruled for 2 columns of 30 to 33 lines, written space: c. 84 × 50–60 mm. .
Fols. 67r–255v are ruled for 22–23 lines, written space: c. 66 × 36 mm. .
The work of several scribes; formal Gothic book hand; black and brown ink.
Rubrics in red ink.
Gold KL monograms decorated with floral sprays extending into the margins in the calendar (fols. 43r–48v).
Miniatures and diagrams:
- fol. 10v (miniature): Annunciation to the Shepherds. The journey of the Magi: three kings on horseback with retainers (pen and wash with gold).
- fol. 11r (miniature): Adoration of Christ: Child in manger, the Virgin Mary and Joseph kneeling, three shepherds, ox, ass and the star.
- fol. 49r–v (diagram): Eclipses of the sun and moon.
- fol. 217v (miniature): God-the-Father seated with feet on the Devil, holding an orb and blessing, surrounded by male and female saints, including the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, Peter with a key and John the Evangelist with a chalice.
Miniatures, initials (five lines high at psalm 1; twelve–thirteen lines high at psalms 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97; six–eight lines high at psalms 51, 101, 118, 119, the beginnings of canticles and litany) and full borders, decorated with floral designs and gold discs, at liturgical divisions:
- fol. 68r Psalm 1 (miniature) King David seated, holding a harp and sceptre, flanked by two courtiers; four prophets/evangelists with scrolls and open books, writing or reading, in four corners.
- (initial B(eatus)) Cleric in pink garb with black hood (?) hanging over his shoulder, kneeling at an altar with an open book; the head of God in rays of light above.
- (full border) Ape holding a specimen bottle; grotesque; birds; coiled tendrils with leaves forming three roundels with David with a sling, Goliath in armour, wounded, and David decapitating Goliath (rubbed).
- fol. 88r Psalm 26 (initial D(omine)) King David, kneeling on grass, pointing to his eyes; a blessing hand of God above in rays of light.
- fol. 101r Psalm 38 (initial D(ixi)) King David standing, pointing to the road at his feet (‘vias meas’); the head of God above in rays of light.
- fol. 112v Psalm 51 (Initial Q(uid)) Floral designs, gold background.
- fol. 113v Psalm 52 (initial D(ixit)) Enthroned King David speaking to the Fool in motley with bells, holding a bladder on a stick.
- fol. 126r Psalm 68 (initial S(aluum)) King David in prayer, crowned and nude, half-submerged in a pool surrounded by grass and trees; half-figure of God above, blessing.
- fol. 142r Psalm 80 (initial E(xultate)) King David playing five bells.
- fol. 157r Psalm 97 (initial C(antate)) King David, seated under canopy, watches two musicians playing horns and three clerics singing from a book, in which neums can be seen, open on a lectern. Several different types of musical instruments in gold in the outer borders.
- fol. 159r Psalm 101 (initial D(omine)) Cleric (Augustinian canon (?)) in dark blue garb with black hood (?) hanging over his shoulder, kneeling at an altar with an open book; the face of God above in rays of light.
- fol. 177v Psalm 118 (initial B(eati)) Floral designs, gold background. Three-sided border.
- fol. 185v Psalm 119 (initial A(d)) Floral designs, gold background. Three-sided border.
- fol. 203v Canticles. (initial C(onfitebor)) Floral designs, gold background. Three-sided border.
- fol. 218r Litany. (initial K(yrie)) Floral designs, gold background. Three-sided border.
2- to 7-line gold initials decorated with floral sprays at the beginnings of texts and sections of texts; one 5-line Q with a face of a bearded man (fol. 14v); 3-line initials at the beginnings of psalms and canticles.
1-line gold and blue initials with contrasting blue or red penwork at the beginnings of periods and verses.
Decoration on fols. 2r–6v, 36v–41v, 56v–66v and 256r–259v is in a different style and includes 2-line gold initials with floral sprays extending into the margins, and 1-line gold and blue initials with penwork.
Further miniatures were apparently intended for large spaces in item 6. Next to the blank space preceding ‘Gloria in excelsis deo’ (fol. 35r) is the marginal instruction to the artist ‘Laus an[gelorum]’; presumably the Annunciation to the Shepherds was intended. In the margins next to preceding spaces, each accompanying a gospel reading, are three names of evangelists.
Brown leather over pasteboard, 19th century. Gilt border round the outer edge of both covers. Four raised bands on spine; gilt borders framing the raised bands and panels between them. Gilt lettering on spine: ‘MISSALE || MSS || SÆC. XV.’.
Evidence of the former (presumably Bodleian) paper label on spine. Double gilt fillets on turn-ins. Gilt edges of textblock. Marks from the clasps of an earlier binding on fols. 258–259 and ii (?).
Made perhaps for an Augustinian canon (depicted on fols. 68r and 159r). The motto (?) ‘suffre’ is written once in gold and once in silver next to his second ‘portrait’ (fol. 159r, psalm 101), and in plain ink (fol. 226r) at the end of a set of prayers. In the litany on fol. 219r ‘suffre’ is written in gold against the name of St Lawrence, and ‘me merci’ against the name of St Alban.
Provenance and Acquisition
Masses and other texts added c. 1475 (Easter table for 1475–1481 on fol. 66v).
In the 18th century belonged to ‘S. Cooke’ (fols. 1v, 259v).
John Cooke (1765–1795), chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford (fol. ii recto); given in 1779 to:
John Ireland (1745–1839), ‘pharmacopolæ’ (fol. ii recto).
Francis Douce (1757–1834): bookplate on the upper pastedown. Almost certainly the book described in his ‘Collecta’ (Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Douce e. 68) as having been bought from the bookseller Thomas Rodd in July 1829: ‘A small English illd psalter & masses (Rodd)’.
Bodleian Library: received in 1834 with the bequest of Douce.
Last Substantive Revision
2022-02-10: Andrew Dunning Adapt Solopova description.