The Luttrell Psalter is one of the most famous manuscripts from medieval England because of the images that decorate the margins of its pages. What makes the Luttrell Psalter unique is that it is richly illustrated with depictions of everyday life in rural England in the first half of the 14th century. Acquired by. The Luttrell Psalter was written and illustrated circa – by anonymous scribes and artists. It was commissioned by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell.

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The Luttrell Psalter British LibraryAdditional Manuscript is an illuminated psalter commissioned by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell —lord of the manor of Irnham in Lincolnshirewritten and illustrated on parchment circa — in England by anonymous scribes and artists.

Luttrell Psalter « Facsimile edition

Along with the psalms beginning on folio 13 r. The pages psallter in their degree of illumination, but many are richly covered with both decorated text and marginal pictures luttrfll saints and Bible stories, and scenes of rural life. It is considered one of the richest sources for visual depictions of everyday rural life in medieval England [1]even though the last folio is now lost.

It is now in the collection of the British Library in London, since the separation of the Library from the British Museum. The Luttrell Psalter was created in England sometime between andhaving been commissioned by Sir Geoffrey Luttrelllord of the manor of Irnham in Lincolnshire.

Eric Millar writes that the manuscript was made around —40, before the death of Luttrell’s wife, Agnes Sutton, because the illustrations show characteristics of the “late ‘decadence’ of the Late East Anglian style”. Lucy Sandler [5] prefers to date the creation around —30 because the styles are similar to the other manuscripts of that time. Michelle Brown believes it was made and planned much later, around — Luttrell, a wealthy land owner, felt his death was coming and wanted to account for all his actions, as is stated in the colophon of the psalter.

The creation of the Luttrell Psalter might be connected either to the papal dispensation of which allowed the Luttrell-Sutton marriage or to the coming of age in of Andrew Luttrell, Sir Geoffrey’s son.

The psalter contains a portrait of Luttrell, at the end of Psalmfully armed and mounted on a war-horse, with an extravagant display of the Luttrell arms. The image is believed lutgrell have served to emphasise his knightly status during a marriage union of a family member.


The Luttrell Psalter was composed by one scribe and at least five different artists [9]all of them with slightly different styles. The first Luttrell artist is referred to as “the decorator”.

He used a linear style of drawing rather than a two-dimensional approach. The second Luttrell artist, “the Colourist”, often drew images that were more sculptural and modelled by light and shade. He took more notice of human form and posture in his drawings.

The third Luttrell artist, “the Illustrator”, favoured a two-dimensional style. The fourth Luttrell artist, “the Luttrell Master”, was skilled in rural themes and outlandish grotesques. He also drew the depictions of the Luttrell family. He shows great skill at producing effects of shadow and texture. His technique is very similar to the style used in most of the East Anglian manuscripts of the period.

The manuscript came to public notice inwhen miniatures of Sir Geoffrey Psaoter, his wife and daughter-in-law were reproduced along with a summary of the book.

The pictorial embellishment of the Psalter shows that the illuminators were artists of vivid perception, strong imaginative faculty, ingenuity and a keen sense of humour, and were closely in touch with the full-bodied homely, racy English life of the period – husbandry, the chase, the use of arms, devotion, domestic, and industrial occupations. It is supposed to have been done for Sir Godfrey Louterell, of Irnham, Lincoln, who was born in and died On pageat the end of Psalm cviii. The manuscript has eight cords which attach the pages together securely.

It is sewn together and has a modern binding post [16] of dark brown Morocco leather. The scripts are fairly large. Each frame of the manuscript has about fourteen full lines of text. This technique required a pen on which the nib is cut at an especially oblique angle, a “strange pen”.

Its style has many highlights and shadowing on the human figures, and its modelling of the human figure is more pronounced, muscular, and more life-like.

The illustrations within the manuscript display several scenes from Geoffrey Luttrell’s life, regular daily activities around the town and many different curious figures combining animal and human parts. The Luttrell Psalter was a good illustration of everyday life in the Middle Ages.


It requires, however, the reader to have some understanding of the Latin sacred words. Luttrell wanted the drawings to reflect the current devotional, cultural, political, economic and dynastic aspirations that he and his family had. The miniature of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell mounted on the horse wearing full armour beside his wife and daughter-in-law is a very powerful image in the Luttrell Psalter.

It suggests that he wanted to be remembered for his youth and for his time spent in the military. The image also shows the Luttrell’s family heraldry. Servants preparing food and running errands are depicted along the margins of the manuscript to emphasize that they played a major role both socially and economically.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Luttrell Psalter

Visual depictions of music-making form a large part of the Luttrell Psalter’s iconography. People and hybrid creatures are represented singing poems, hymns and psalms as an expression of devotion. The Psalter therefore speaks of an integral aspect of everyday life in the fourteenth century.

Music in the Middle Ages was not only luttreol in clerical environments but was also, to some extent, employed to represent the devil and corruption. The Luttrell Psalter is interesting with regard to musical tradition in luttgell Middle Ages because it tries to integrate both the religious and devilish side of the psalter to combine them “into the service of the sacred”.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Luttrell PsalterTime12 August For a more detailed account, see Alfred Noyes. Two Worlds for Memory. Pxalter of the Psalter: Orality and Musical Symbolism in the Luttrell Psalter”.

Luttrell Psalter

University of Toronto Press, BrownThe World of the Luttrell Psalter. The British Library, Rosina Buckland”Sounds of the Psalter: In Music in Art 28, psaler.

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