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THE LUTTRELL PSALTER

LuttrellPsalterFol202vGeoffLutrellMounted.jpg

Title:

THE LUTTRELL PSALTER

Creator:

The exact authorship cannot be determined by the present academic information known about the construction of this codex. However, it is evidenced that the scribe who was working on this Psalter was highly skilled yet he was not working alone. As many as three other artists may have been commissioned to begin working as a team to compile the Luttrell Psalter for the Lord of Irnham, Sir Geoffrey Luttrell. Sir Geoffrey Luttrell was not the scribe himself but was a wealthy member of the English nobility who used his extensive financial reservoirs and monetary reserves to pay for the very expensive production of this now famous Psalter.

Source:

The manuscript was presumably illustrated and compiled within the scriptorium at the parish of Irnham in Lincolnshire, England. This close proximity to the community would have been necessary for the extensive localized sequences and events depicted in the visual representations of the manuscript required of the project.

Subject:

The Psalms were originally a part of the Old Testament however, the artwork of the Lutterell Psalter does not necessarily adhere to the psalm it is connected with and frequent appearances of unrelated images and bestial anthropomorphic figures are in the vast majority of the marginal spaces within the manuscript. The original artwork and extensive calligraphy of the enigmatic Luttrell Psalter still remains a mystery to this day. Extensive marginal illustrations and elaborately decorated frames are present throughout the majority of the manuscript. The marginal decorations reoccur almost continuously throughout the entirety of the manuscript. However, it is the bas-de-page illustrations that typically are given the most emphasis in terms of containing important visual information of primary importance in elucidating the multiple meanings conveyed within the manuscript.

Description:

The Luttrell Psalter is a Gothic manuscript from the countryside of medieval England.
“The Luttrell Psalter, now numbered Additional MS 42130 in the collections of the British Library, is made up of 309 leaves of sturdy, well-prepared vellum.” (Page 5 Janet Backhouse).

Publisher:

The manuscript was presumably illustrated and compiled within the scriptorium at the parish of Irnham in Lincolnshire, England.

Date:

Many different ranges of possible dates have been attributed to the compilation and accentuation of the Luttrell Psalter, which has been estimated by a plethora of scholarly academia. Michele Brown, in the commentary of the facsimile, states her educated guess while also giving validation to other preeminent scholars on the subject, “(Janet) Backhouse favored 1320-1340… in my opinion, the book is most likely to have been planned and made over a number of years sometime between 1330 and 1345, having been started before Agnes’s death in 1340… and left unfinished at Sir Geoffrey’s death in 1345” (page 32 Michele Brown) Even though there have been minor discrepancies between alternating academic opinions the date of the Luttrell Psalter has been overwhelmingly and almost unanimously attributed to the first half of the 13th century.

Contributor:

Sir Geoffrey Luttrell was the primary benefactor responsible for the production of the Luttrell Psalter. HIs extensive wealth and power in the region allowed him to fund the creation of this manuscript although he himself was not involved in the artistic process.

Rights:

Today the original manuscript is protected by the British Library because of a sizable donation mad by the wealthy book collector and business tycoon, John Pierpont Morgan.

Relation:

The Luttrell Psalter, although unique in appearance from other psalters, is similar within the Judeo-Christian religious context.

Format:

The exact dimensions of the cover of the manuscript is 37.0 x 27.0 centimeters while the folios themselves are approximately 35.0 x 24.5 centimeters however the script of the manuscript usually measures 25.5 x 17.0 centimeters (frame ruling) throughout the written spaces excluding marginal illustrations as well as evidence of trimming, “at least 20 mm have probably been trimmed off of each of the margins during later re-bindings, sometimes intruding upon marginal images.” (Page 87 Michele Brown) For instance, Folio 266 Recto has been severely trimmed which is revealed by the marginal illustrations actually having been literally cut out of the manuscript during subsequent re-bindings of the Luttrell Psalter over its centuries long life span.

Language:

The calligraphic work exhibited by the Luttrell Psalter is written in Latin in the Gothic style of textualis precissa, which can be a very time consuming albeit produces a very legible hand. The painstaking work of the scribe is evident as there is only one relatively small portion of the text that needed correction since its inception.

Type:

The Luttrell Psalter is a psalter that was made as a book to be used by the local aristocracy. Unlike other psalters that were used by monks, the Luttrell Psalter is primarily focused on the epic illustrations contained within its vellum pages.

Citation:

The exact authorship cannot be determined by the present academic information known about the construction of this codex. However, it is evidenced that the scribe who was working on this Psalter was highly skilled yet he was not working alone. As many as three other artists may have been commissioned to begin working as a team to compile the Luttrell Psalter for the Lord of Irnham, Sir Geoffrey Luttrell. Sir Geoffrey Luttrell was not the scribe himself but was a wealthy member of the English nobility who used his extensive financial reservoirs and monetary reserves to pay for the very expensive production of this now famous Psalter. , “THE LUTTRELL PSALTER,” Digital Exhibits, accessed June 20, 2018, http://exhibits.library.ucsc.edu/items/show/67.

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