The Luttrell Psalter: Medieval Beauty

4/12/2012 Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »

One of the loveliest Medieval manuscripts must be the Luttrell Psalter, made between 1325 and 1335 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, a Lincolnshire knight. Unlike typical books of psalms, its wonder does not rest on illuminations of biblical figures and events, but on its wealth of marginal and bas-de-page (lit. "bottom of the page") illustrations of everyday life in the Middle Ages. The manuscript features activities ranging from plowing and sowing the fields to playing games, cooking, and dining:

(Click to enlarge images)

Plowing the field with oxen.

Harrowing the field.

Sowing the field.

Reaping and binding sheaves of wheat.

Stacking sheaves of wheat to dry.

Threshing wheat with flails.

Cherry thief.

Woman spinning.

Shepherd piping.

Milking sheep in a pen.


Woman feeding chickens.

In 2006, Lincolnshire film director, Nick Loven, had the idea of making a short film based on the Luttrell Psalter. WAG Screen shot the film over the span of a year, with little budget and a cast and crew of volunteers. It debuted in 2008 to high acclaim. This labor of love brings beautifully to life scenes from the Psalter:

The British Library has a few selections from the Luttrell Psalter viewable for free on their "Turning the Pages" site, here. They've also recently added an iPad app of the complete Luttrell Psalter [US | UK]. The app includes the short film above.

And so, fare well!

NB: All Luttrell Psalter images in this post ©British Library. In the U.S., under U.S. copyright law, they are Public Domain and are used under a Creative Commons license.