In the late twelfth or early thirteenth century a psalter was made at a Benedictine abbey in Augsburg, Germany. The Romanesque illuminations decorating the manuscript are believed to have been created by three or four different artists. One illumination in particular stands out, a young girl in secular dress swinging from the letter Q. The name “Claricia” is written by her head. Art historian Dorothy E. Miner suggested that it was self-portrait of a lay student at the convent.
The Claricia Psalter is held by the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (tumblr), but it is not currently on view. If you’re in the Baltimore area and are interested in medieval manuscripts, the current (free) exhibit at the Walters Art Museum is “Seeing Music in Medieval Manuscripts.” The exhibit runs through October 12, 2014.