George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

The Blackadder Psalter: acquired in 1974

The Blackadder Psalter was written in France in the second half of the 15th century. In one of the prayers is the supplication 'Libera me domine Robertum famulum tuum' – 'Preserve me, O Lord, your servant Robert'. From this, it's thought that the psalter was probably written for Robert Blackadder, who was Archbishop of Glasgow from 1483 to 1508.

Other evidence shows that the volume later belonged to Alexander Stewart, Archbishop of St Andrews, who died in 1513, and then Alexander, 5th Lord Livingston, whose name is stamped on the fine Parisian binding of the mid-16th century.

The manuscript is richly illustrated throughout with small miniatures and decorative initials. These include images of St Ninian and St Margaret of Scotland, and all point towards the psalter's Scottishness from the time it was made.

Of special interest in the page shown here is the cleric in prayer before the crucified Christ. This is a striking example of the probable original owner being depicted in one of the pages of a mediaeval book.

The Blackadder Psalter was added to the National Library of Scotland's manuscript collections in 1974.

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