The Psalterium, or as its more commonly known, the Mainz Psalter, is one of the earliest printed books, the second after the Gutenberg Bible. The volume is the first to include a date of printing, 14th of August 1457. As well as a date, the book is credited as having the first colophon containing the work’s title, printer, and the date of publication. Moreover, it is explicitly mentioned in the colophon that the entire book was produced with the aid of printing methods, including the decoration, which was no longer added by book illuminators Only 10 copies of the complete book survive, 6 ‘short’ versions and 4 175 leaf ‘long’ versions Of which the Rylands copy is the short version.
The book was printed by Fust & Schoeffer in Mainz Germany, on vellum in black and red, with woodblock two-colour initials, and contains manuscript music and large coloured capitals in blue and red.
The entire book has now been digitised by the CHICC team, and will be available on Turning the Pages and LUNA very soon. There is currently only one leaf on LUNA here.
To find out more about Fust, Schoeffer, Gutenberg and more, visit the Rylands wonderful First Impressions site.