Luttrell Psalter

Luttrell Psalter

Lincoln (United Kindgom) — ca. 1325–1335

10 years for 600 illuminated pages: medieval life in unique miniatures

  1. An exuberant commission of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (1276–1345) arose in Lincolnshire ca. 1325–35

  2. All the pages – over 600 altogether – were adorned with miniatures and figurative scenes over ten years

  3. There is a large scenic depiction under the text on each page, e.g. a farmer at the plow or a couple in love

Luttrell Psalter

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Luttrell Psalter

Life in the Middle Ages in all its aspects, presented in high-quality, gorgeous, and entertaining miniatures: the famous Luttrell Psalter offers it all. This manuscript in the British Library in London is considered to be altogether, one of the most significant medieval manuscripts! Originating from the commission of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell in Lincolnshire shortly before the mid–14th century, the psalter offers an exuberant, extremely lively image of the Middle Ages. Named after his magnum opus, the Luttrell Master created a manuscript whose 600 pages are adorned with magnificent miniatures. An unbelievable visual impression is guaranteed!

Luttrell Psalter

Life in the Middle Ages in all its aspects, presented in high-quality, gorgeous, and entertaining miniatures: the famous Luttrell Psalter offers it all. This manuscript in the British Library in London is considered to be altogether, one of the most significant medieval manuscripts! Originating from the commission of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell in Lincolnshire shortly before the mid–14th century, the psalter offers an exuberant, extremely lively image of the Middle Ages. Named after his magnum opus, the Luttrell Master created a manuscript whose 600 pages are adorned with magnificent miniatures. An unbelievable visual impression is guaranteed!

A Mysterious Commission

What lead the patron of the manuscript to have a psalter made with such a magnificent picture of the Middle Ages remains a mystery. Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (1276–1345), who leant the manuscript his name as its patron, was a high-ranking English nobleman, Baron, knight, and a large landowner. Shortly before the middle of the 14th century, Luttrell commission and unknown master with the work. The Luttrell Master, so named after his primary work, created this impressive manuscript in Lincolnshire, England ca. 1325–1340.

One of the Most Significant Medieval Manuscripts Altogether

The manuscript with the shelf mark Add MS 42130 of the British Library in London is a true masterpiece of Gothic illumination. On 618 pages measuring 35 x 24.5 cm, Psalms and songs are most splendidly illustrated. All the pages – over 600 altogether – were adorned with miniatures and figurative scenes. The large lines of text are surrounded with decorative ornamental bordures, vines and escutcheons, but also have all kinds of colorful figures and scenes. Thus it offers the beholder an exceptional variety of compositions and visual representations. Nevertheless, it is not only the quantity, but also and in particular the quality of the miniatures that is noteworthy. The Luttrell Master was occupied with work on the psalter for over 10 years!

The Middle Ages Come Alive

The Luttrell Psalter is one of the most comprehensive visual resources concerning medieval everyday life. Under the text on the lower margin of each page there is a large scenic depiction, e.g. a farmer at the plow, a splendid nobleman on an elegant steed, a ship on the sea, or a couple in love. This practice is continued with the magnificent historiated initials, splendidly ennobled with gold. In this way, miniatures arose that are witty and humorous, cryptic and entertaining, and which illustrate medieval life in all its aspects: from fashion to food to agrarian work.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Luttrell-Psalter
Size / Format
618 pages / 35.0 × 24.5 cm
Date
ca. 1325–1335
Style
Language
Script
Gothic Textura Prescissa
Illustrations
Over 600 illuminated pages and one of the most comprehensive visual resources concerning medieval everyday life
Content
Book of Psalms also featuring a calendar, canticles, the Mass, and an antiphon for the dead
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Luttrell family
FitzAlan family
William Howard of Naworth (1563–1640)
Nicholas Sherbourne (d. 1717)
Thomas Weld (1710–1810)
Weld family
Herbert Joseph Weld (1852–1935)
Mary Angela Noyes (1927–1958)

Available facsimile editions:
Luttrell Psalter – Add MS 42130 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
The Folio Society – London, 2006
Limited Edition: 1480 copies
Detail Picture

Lucerne Chronicle of Diebold Schilling

Protecting the Seed

Tilling the soil and sowing seed grain was only the beginning of growing wheat, rye, and other staples of the medieval diet. Until the rains could wash it into the soil, the seed was exposed to the appetites of animals, especially birds. As such, boys in particular were often tasked with guarding the next harvest. In this bas-de-page miniature, a boy is standing with one hip stuck out jauntily and dressed in a purple tunic as he uses a sling to shoot stones at the marauding ravens overhead.

Luttrell Psalter
Single Page

Luttrell Psalter

Office of the Dead

Unlike most Psalters, this specimen includes musical notation for the Office of the Dead with squares and diamonds rendered on a stave of four lines. The lyrics are written in clear Gothic letters, which are preceded by a gorgeous “D” initial with two grotesques set among thorny tendrils against a golden background, which is in turn set within a golden square with a patterned blue background.

Various creatures populate the marginalia, including a blue deer with white spots and golden antlers and hooves standing on top of a curled tendril. A red bull, blue donkey, and multi-colored dragon rest on the frame at the bottom of the page. Below them, a tiny grotesque stands on a patch of grass with hooved hind legs and a fanged head like a cat.

Luttrell Psalter
Facsimile Editions

#1 Luttrell Psalter

The Folio Society – London, 2006
Luttrell Psalter – Add MS 42130 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Luttrell Psalter – Add MS 42130 – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: The Folio Society – London, 2006
Limited Edition: 1480 copies
Binding: Blue Nigerian goatskin with a design by David Eccles showing motifs from the Psalter as well as the Luttrell coat of arms in rich colors, gold, and silver. Protected in a blue Solander box with the commentary volume.
Commentary: 1 volume (206 pages) by Michelle P. Brown
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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