The Macclesfield Psalter

The Anointing Master


The Anointing Master takes his name from the only large, historiated initial that he painted, which shows the anointing of King David for Psalm 26 (fol. 39r). His slender, refined figures are draped in subtly modelled garments. They closely resemble some of the figures on the Thornham Parva Retable, a painting designed to be displayed above an altar, which was made in the 1330s for the Dominican Priory at Thetford or Norwich. Both he and the Macclesfield Master must have been familiar with the retable, which is the best-preserved of all medieval English panel paintings. None of the bas-de-page scenes in the Macclesfield Psalter can be attributed to the Anointing Master, but he painted figures in some of the borders, including a hybrid with a long, white beard (fol. 20v). Similar hybrids, evidently inspired by the same workshop pattern, are found in several related manuscripts.