The Macclesfield Psalter

Canticles with Hymn Te Deum and Athanasian Creed

Texts and Images

The first one, the Canticle of Isaiah, opens with a large historiated initial showing the seated prophet, Isaiah, praying to God (fol. 207v). The remaining Canticles, as well as the hymn beginning Te Deum laudamus (‘God, we praise you’) and the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque vult salvus esse, ‘Whosoever will be saved’), one of the three main creeds of the early Church, are marked by smaller ornamental initials, most with foliate motifs. Lesser text divisions are signalled by small initials in burnished gold on coloured grounds.

The initial extends into a three-sided bar border incorporating foliate motifs, a bird, a hybrid and two figures that support elements of the decoration like classical caryatids. The flesh of the supporter who is stripped to the waist has been delicately shaded and modelled. A hybrid with an ape’s head is depicted in the bas-de-page.