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The Patrons of the Percy Psalter-Hours

Tuesday 9 June 2020, 5.30PM

Speaker(s): Dr Eleanor Jackson is Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library. She completed her PhD at the History of Art Department at the University of York in 2017.

The Centre for Medieval Studies and the History of Art Department’s Medieval Art and Medievalisms Research School at the University of York are holding this online summer research seminar about a manuscript which was recently acquired by the British Library and has a York connection.

In March 2019, the British Library acquired a late 13th-century book of hours of the Use of York known as the Percy Hours. This would be exciting enough on its own, but the British Library also holds its long-separated other half, the Percy Psalter, with which it originally formed a single-volume psalter-hours. This acquisition allowed the Library to reunite the two manuscript halves in the same institution for the first time in around 200 years.

The Percy Psalter-Hours is one of a relatively small number of devotional books for the laity surviving from 13th-century England, and probably the only example from York. It provides rare insight into a period of great change in book culture, when devotional books for the laity were growing in popularity and regional workshops for commercial book production were emerging around the country.

Despite its significance, the question of the manuscript's patronage has never been satisfactorily answered. Scholars have long recognised that the original owners should be identifiable based on the portrait of a knight and lady with coats of arms on the Beatus page. While scholarly opinion has generally settled on Henry de Percy (d. 1314) and his wife Eleanor FitzAlan (d. 1328) as an approximate fit for the heraldry, there are serious problems with this identification. This paper, still a work in progress, presents a new identification of the patrons for your opinions and feedback.

How to join 

The seminar will be held by Zoom. To join the meeting please sign up on this Google Form. Registration closes at 10am on the day itself. Participants will receive an email containing a link to the meeting once registration has closed. If you have any queries, please email

All Welcome! 


Location: This event takes place online (via Zoom)