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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 is one of the most famous manuscripts from medieval England because of the images that decorate the margins of its pages.

Some of these images have been interpreted as the most accurate portrayals of medieval rural life while others seem to make no sense at all. However, if we dig deeper into the layout of the images on the page, psaalter Luttrell Psalter reveals itself to be a magnificent example of political satire and wordplay of the highest level.


It contains vellum leaves of the highest quality with flyleaves of paper.

The text is in Psslter. Because the identities of the artists are unknown, they are referred to in reference to their style, e. Sir Geoffrey is portrayed dressed in full armor and mounted on his warhorse.

The Luttrell Psalter

With him in this picture are his wife Agnes Sutton and his daughter-in-law Beatrice Scrope. The portrait presents Sir Geoffrey in the prime of his youth while Agnes is depicted as his supportive wife, and Beatrice lutrrell the future of the Luttrell lineage. However, the Psalter was commissioned by and created for Sir Geoffrey.

Therefore it is more likely that the images of farmers at work are idealized portrayals meant to please the lord of the manor, rather than demonstrate everyday life. To be able to interpret these images you need to be aware of the symbolism of visual political satire in the Middle Ages. And even though the text is in Latin, the image itself can be a visual representation of a play on words in either French or English.


Consequently, to fully understand why an image appears where it does in the Psalter, you need to know these three languages very well. Throughout the centuries it has had several owners.

Category:Luttrell Psalter (c) – BL Add MS – Wikimedia Commons

In spite of this, the Psalter is still intact. Because the British Library had difficulties raising the money, American millionaire and collector J.

Morgan granted them a personal, interest-free loan. If you would like to flip through the pages of the Luttrell Psalter, please click here. The Psalter is available in its entirety in color images including commentary to luttrfll spread.

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