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Contents The Luttrell Psalter The Luttrell Psalter is probably one of the most famous medieval illuminated manuscripts. It was commissioned by Sir Geoffrey.

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Presentation on theme: "Contents The Luttrell Psalter The Luttrell Psalter is probably one of the most famous medieval illuminated manuscripts. It was commissioned by Sir Geoffrey."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Contents The Luttrell Psalter The Luttrell Psalter is probably one of the most famous medieval illuminated manuscripts. It was commissioned by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell ( ), a wealthy English landowner who lived at Irnham, Lincolnshire. A psalter is a book of psalms – a collection of songs in the Bible - usually decorated with pictures of saints and biblical scenes. The Luttrell Psalter also contains a calendar, and the music and words for some canticles or hymns. The wonderful illustrations contained in the Luttrell Psalter are a primary source for medieval life. They also contain hidden signs and symbols which can be investigated to answer many questions about politics, religion and the role of women in medieval England. The pages are illustrated not only the usual pictures of saints and biblical scenes; but also amazing beasts and scenes of ordinary people at work and play. These images are painted in rich colours and embellished with gold and silver. Click Here to see a video in which scenes from the Luttrell Psalter are re-enacted... Click on the cover to open the Luttrell Psalter & find out more … Part 2 – Everyday Life All images from the Luttrell Psalter are reproduced courtesy of The British Library

3 Contents Introduction The Farming Year The Symphony All images from the Luttrell Psalter are reproduced courtesy of The British Library Women and their Hair Clothing in the Psalter The Everyday Life of a Medieval Baron Music and Entertainment Acknowledgments Medieval Spinning

4 Contents Introduction to the depiction of everyday life in the Luttrell Psalter The Luttrell Psalter is a unique record of 14 th century life, showing images of the ordinary Lincolnshire people on Sir Geoffrey’s estates. Click Here to see a video in which Professor Michelle Brown explains the background to the creation of the Luttrell Psalter. The many images show aspects of the many activities and tasks of everyday life – farming, domestic tasks, entertainment and clothing. The images are more than just pretty pictures however – they too have a deeper meaning waiting to be uncovered. Click here to see more images

5 Contents The Farming Year The Psalter is famous for its detailed depictions of the farming year – from sowing in the autumn to reaping in the summer…. These two images show harvesting of the ripe corn. At harvest time all men, women and children would work collectively to gather in the corn - this is shown by the comparatively large number of people in the images. What Does It Mean? The activities of the farming year are shown in order with ploughing followed by sowing the seed and harrowing.

6 Contents The Farming Cycle What Do the Images Mean? More The images in the Psalter showing the farming year from ploughing to harvest-time are more than just straight forward illustrations. Farming activities were central to medieval village life, and a vital part of the duties that people owed their lord and farming imagery or metaphors also occur frequently in the Bible. The structure of the pages with their farming illustrations in prominent position at the bottom and other grotesques and images of disorder in the margins could be suggesting that the ordered stability of life on Sir Geoffrey's estates was a mirror of the religious world or divine order, and was holding back the menace of the grotesque forces of chaos and evil luring on the margins. Each image is closely linked to the text of the Psalm on which page it appears and as such has a allegorical meaning as well as being illustrative of everyday life - for example the images of harvest time accompany the psalms of praise for the fruits provided by God; Psalm 95, verse 12: "The fields and all in them rejoice". Back

7 Contents The Farming Cycle What do the Images Mean? Professor Michelle Brown explains how the simple images of farming depicted in the Psalter have in fact many layers of meaning ….. Click here to see her video. Back The images in the Psalter should not be taken at face value – or seen as just nice illustrations. They have more than one literal meaning, are linked closely to the text and can be interpreted in many ways … Click on images to see larger versions.

8 Contents The Farming Year Image of harrowing from Psalm 94, ff. 171 Back Harrowing Professor Michelle Brown explains how the simple images of farming depicted in the Psalter have in fact many layers of meaning ….. Click here to see her video.

9 Contents The Farming Year Back Reaping Professor Michelle Brown explains how the simple images of farming depicted in the Psalter have in fact many layers of meaning ….. Click here to see her video.

10 Contents Bear BaitingDrums and BagpipesPlaying pipesWrestlingPlaying a Board Game Music & Entertainment In addition the book contains music and words for some canticles or hymns. Click on the symbol to see a music page & hear plainchant from the Psalter. Stilt WalkingPicking Cherries! Click the arrow to see some images from the Psalter …. There are many illustrations of entertainment and musical instruments contained in the margins of the Psalter.

11 Contents Music – The Symphony The symphony is an early type of hurdy- gurdy, dating back to 12th century. The word 'symphony' is a Greek word meaning 'sounding together', and this is because this instrument is designed to make two or more strings sound together. When turned the wheel bows the strings to make sound. The keys, when pressed by the fingers, create the different notes. It also includes drone strings which give it an almost bagpipe sound. Two symphonies are shown in the Luttrell Psalter – one being played by a seated woman, one by a standing man. Click here to view a video in which musicians Dante Ferrara and Richard Still discuss the images of the Symphony in the Psalter. Click here to watch musician Dante Ferrara demonstrate playing the Symphony. Click speaker to hear the Symphony being played by Dante Ferrara.

12 Contents Clothing The Psalter is unusual in that it contains depictions of people from all levels of society. Normally illustrations from this period are of the aristocracy – in this manuscript we have many, many depictions of “ordinary” people and their clothing. Click here to view a video in Pauline Loven of Orchard House Wardrobe explains why the Psalter is so useful for the study of costume in the early 14 th century.

13 Contents Women and their hair …. Nearly all of the women shown in the Psalter have their hair covered in some way... This was the Christian tradition at the time – women’s hair was seen as a symbol of their youth and beauty and was meant to be concealed from public view once a woman was of marriage age. There was however some discrepancy in the head coverings used at different levels of society – the aristocracy could flaunt the rules a little – wearing veils and coverings of the finest gauze through which the hair and hair- styles could still be seen. Click here to view a video in Pauline Loven of Orchard House Wardrobe explain how and why women in the Psalter covered their hair. Throughout the period veils came in both oval and rectangular configurations, which could be worn in a wide variety of ways - alone or with wimples which covered the neck and ears or with barbettes (like a headband to keep the veil in place or with a number of different headdresses and hats.

14 Contents The Everyday Life of a Medieval Knight The Psalter gives an insight into the everyday life of a medieval baron. Sir Geoffrey and his family are shown undertaking everyday activities such as feasting at the High Table … and elsewhere in the manuscript an obviously high status man and lady are shown playing some kind of board game… Also shown in the Psalter are depictions of hunting and hawking a common pastime of the medieval aristocracy – for enjoyment as well as the provision of game for the table. Sir Geoffrey is also depicted in full armour, seated upon his warhorse. By the time the Psalter was being made, Sir Geoffrey was an old man and this depiction is probably more an attempt to show the duties and importance of a knight rather than a representation of him as a fighting man.

15 Contents Medieval Spinning Click here to watch a video showing how spinning is done using a distaff and a drop spindle. The Psalter contains images of spinning – a pastime that would take up every spare minute of the day for medieval women.

16 Contents This PowerPoint presentation has been created by Vikki Pearson for The Collection, Lincoln as part of the Luttrell Psalter Learning Journey on Learn with Museums – The presentation uses images from the Luttrell Psalter (reproduced courtesy of The British Library) and video and audio clips courtesy of Wagscreen, Professor Michelle Brown, Pauline Loven and Linda Hotchkiss. Contents


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