Psalterium Diurnum
Italy, 1477
135 leaves ; 47 x 35 cm.
(St. Bonaventure University. Franciscan Institute. Holy Name Manuscript no.2)

This psalter made for daily use, written on vellum, is the most beautiful of the large choir books in the collection. It is unusual in that it is dated in the front (completed on November 1, 1477) and it states that it was made for a group of sisters under the authority of  a Sr. Cecilia of Siena. These sisters, though not explicitly stated, must have been Franciscan because of a clear emphasis in that regard throughout the book.

The text is set in double columns with many decorated initial letters throughout. There are 19 large decorated initials done by at least two different people, using paint and gold leaf. One of these artists used moth-like insects or large beaked birds in their designs. Aside from these large pictorial letters there are also hundreds of decorated initials utilizing elaborate curving ink lines. There is an interesting third element of decoration where someone drew around the small black letters with flourishes and many times incorporated comical faces.

In front of the main text there is a calendar of feast days of the saints; one page for each month. At the end it appears that an entire gathering of pages is missing.

The original covers, now in a state of bad repair, are wooden board covered in leather. There is evidence of elaborate metal pieces that had been in the center and on each of the four corners. Clasps and leather straps had been on the side and also on the top and bottom. The straps were designed to fasten on four metal pegs that protrude from the back cover of the book. A row of metal studs had run around the edges of both covers.