The Psalms as a source of inspiration

A Psalter with penwork after a medieval model My previous post : ‘Making a Psalter on a medieval model’ ended […]

My previous post : ‘Making a Psalter on a medieval model’ ended with:

‘to be continued’.

Actually, everything was ready then only the work still needed to be bound and that has now been done. Karin Cox ( Ars Ligandi) has made work of it! She has made a beautiful 13th-century binding around it that only remains to be stamped.

The leather binding has two straps to close the book.

Inside flat beech wood


The stitching of the quires

The stitching of the quires and binding was still tricky. There is a lot of experience in binding old parchment quires but almost none of ‘modern’ parchment. On top of that, I made it extra difficult to supply parchment quires of different thicknesses.

As I wrote earlier, I had long had the desire to make a book and now I have succeeded. Started in 2018, it did become a multi-year project.

When you start something like this, you encounter all sorts of things and a lot of things go wrong too……..

In my journal I wrote somewhere: ‘Have now decided to move on with a different attitude.Try to make the best of it bearing in mind that it is also a learning process, where mistakes are made and problems have to be solved. The final product does not have to be perfect but will be a product that I learn from as I go along’.

For such a project, take your time and realise that it is the first time for you when you do something like this.

Incipit page

In the Psalter, I focused on the penwork. The original Psalter also contained a lot of penwork but I myself tried to translate the colour , sound, content of the psalm text into the nature of the penwork decorations.

The psalms have been a source of joy, comfort, and hope for countless people throughout history. They express the awareness that life in all its shades is not a meaningless story but a willed act of Someone greater than ourselves, the Eternal God Himself. A knowing in and out of which to live with joy. That is what Israel sang of, the monks in medieval monasteries and I humbly join them today.

King David plays his harp. After all, he is considered the composer of many psalms.

A medieval psalter also contained images from the Old and New Testament. Here from top left to bottom right. The Annunciation, the birth of Christ, the adoration of the Magi from the East and the infanticide in Bethlehem.

David and Goliath and the exile from paradise.

It has indeed been a quest for the medieval book. For years I kept myself busy with illuminating but loose pieces are different, they only get their place in the book for which they were originally intended.

Now on to the next project: an Apocalypse but that may take some time….