Henry VIII's Psalter by Jean Mallard

Book Review : Henry VIII's Psalter

By Jean Mallard

  • Publication Date: 2011-11-10
  • Genre: Europe

Book Review

Henry VIII's Psalter is a small manuscript and, as indicated by the many notes added in Henry’s own handwriting, it became his personal Psalter and a much-loved and heavily consulted book. The annotations are made using three different writing implements: a pen; a pencil; and a red crayon. 

As well as inserting words or phrases, Henry marked up verses using his characteristic wavy line and tadpole-like sign. Many of Henry’s annotations simply provide glosses on the text, but others supply evidence of the King exploring the meaning of Scripture, looking at themes such as the contrast between the blessed and the wicked, divine judgement, kingship and the vanity of worldly goods.

Henry’s Psalter, which was almost certainly produced in 1540 by Jean Mallard, is a lavish production, containing four miniature portraits of Henry VIII, three other exquisite illustrations and decorated initials showing animals, birds, insects, fruit, vegetables, flowers and foliage. The text is written in a beautiful humanist script.

There is an illustration that introduces Psalm 1 (folio 3) showing Henry reading in his bedchamber with two books bound in velvet at his feet and therefore provides a good impression of how the Psalter would have originally looked.

This is is an enhanced eBookTreasure edition and contains interpretative text and audio on selected pages.

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