Oscott Psalter, Oxford (?) about 1265-1270

London, British Library, Ms. Add. 50000, fol. 9v

A special and rare feature in English art of the time is the arrangement of scenes from the Life of Christ in the Oscott Psalter: two main roundels on each page, underlaid by golden areas and placed on a coloured background reflect the patterns of glass windows at contemporary French cathedrals and their imitation in French book illumination of the time. French patterns are also obvious in the bright colouring, intense blue and light orange-red. Another rare feature is the accompanying cut segments. A peculiarity of the Oxford workshop with its long-lasting effects is the design of the frames in each page: two equal bars, equally patterned and coloured, are facing each other.

The miniature page fol. 9v, The Adoration and the Dream of the Three Magi is a typical and beautiful example of the arrangement of scenes from the Life of Christ: The two middle roundels underlaid by gold and encircled by coloured frames are connected by cut-out pieces of ornament. The main scenes depicted here illustrate the passages in the Gospel after St Matthew II, 1-12): The Three Magi, having followed their star, have arrived at the place where Mary is sitting on a throne like seat with young Jesus on her lap. They worship him, ready to offer their precious gifts: gold, incense and myrrh.