King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The Ethiopic Psalter of 1513

About the project


Digitisation equipment showing laptop, camera and book placed open on cradle.Digitisation in progress at King's College London.First leaf showing woodcut in red of King David playing the harp in a wooded landscape.Front-lit image of first leaf (recto) showing full page woodcut of King David playing the harp.First leaf back-lit to reveal paper structure and watermark.Back-lit image of the same leaf (recto) revealing paper structure.Our copy of Johann Potken’s 1513 translation of the Psalms into Ge’ez has been digitised as part of a collaborative project with Lambeth Palace Library (whose copy of the Psalter has also been selectively digitised). The project has been led and the digitisation undertaken by Dr Ian Christie Miller. It has been made possible by a grant from the Ordre Souverain Militaire et Hospitalier de Saint Jean de Jérusalem, Chevaliers Œcuméniques de Rhodes et de Malte, OSJ.

Image capture

Digitisation took place over two days at King’s College London and one day at Lambeth Palace Library using the earlybook imaging system to capture front-lit and back-lit images of the Psalter.

The front-lit images were taken with light from Kaiser white lights. The back-lit images were taken with light from a 1 mm thick electroluminescent light sheet placed under the page to be imaged. Perfect registration of the two images was achieved by ensuring no movement of book or camera for the two images. In addition a few images were taken with a camera specially adapted to be sensitive to infra-red of pages upon which ink had been inadvertently spilled in the past.

Subsequently the images were processed by Dr Ian Christie Miller off-site into a variety of formats (see additional resources for further information).

Online content

This online gallery provides access to a digital facsimile of the copy of the Psalter held in the Foyle Special Collections Library, King’s College London [Marsden Collection R8/1]. The images are divided into the following sections:

  • Front cover, endpapers
  • Preliminary pages
  • Psalms 1-50
  • Psalms 51-100
  • Psalms 101-150
  • Canticles, colophon June 1513
  • Song of Solomon, colophon Sep 1513
  • Endpapers, back cover

The online gallery also provides a selection of images from the copy of the Psalter held in Lambeth Palace Library [Sion ARC A14.16s/P84].


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