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The St. Albans Psalter

An Anglo-Norman Song of Faith


Kristine Haney

The St. Albans Psalter (c. 1125-1135), is generally regarded as the earliest surviving masterpiece of Anglo-Norman painting. Its extensive picture cycle includes over 200 historiated initials accompanying the psalms and prayers. This book focuses on these initials, examining their relationship to the text, the sources upon which they draw, the design process, the messages encoded into them, and the ways they would have been read by a contemporary audience. Addressing these issues sheds new light on the development of Anglo-Norman art, the role of major Benedictine foundations in this process, and the ways these houses reached out not only to those within their communities, but also to the laity in a time of relative insecurity.