The large and decorative initial B represents the beginning of Psalm 143, and so represents a reading aid as well as a decorative element. The reintroduction of rustic capitals as a heading script occurred in books of the Carolingian era, when a hierarchy of scripts was employed for headings and capital. Note that the initial letters of each verse are in uncial script. Colour is also employed in the hierarchy, as the actual heading is in rubric in rustic capitals, while the first line of the Psalm is in regular black ink, also in rustic capitals. The foliate decoration, which harks back to Classical models, also reappeared at this time. The style may be typical of late Anglo-Saxon books, but the pedigree is a little more complex.

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Ramsay Psalter (British Library, Harley 2904, f.181), late 10th century. All images by permission of the British Library. These iamges are made available by the British Library under a Creative Commons agreement.

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