[tabs] [tab title=”Publisher’s Blurb”] The British Library’s Luttrell Psalter is probably the best-known of all English illuminated manuscripts. Even before it was bought for the nation in 1929, social historians were using it to illustrate early-14th-century agrarian life in the Midlands. This book presents a detailed analysis and critique of the use of these illuminations as records of historical experience, and an examination of the relationship between them and the construction of time past. The Luttrell Psalter was made in order to consolidate the social position of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell as Lord of Irnham at a time when his family was shaken by a scandalous charge of incest. By drawing on research on the village of Irnham as well as on Sir Geoffrey’s manor itself – his tomb, his will and the urban illuminators he employed – the author seeks to show that, rather than serving as a perfect mirror in miniature of a feudal society, the Luttrell Psalter flaunts the cracks and contradictions in the social system of the time, and ultimately heralds that system’s demise. [/tab] [/tabs]
This is part of a series on medieval craftsmen from the University of Toronto Press. (Must find some of these other titles, glass painters, armorers, goldsmiths etc)
The name gives it away, this is about paper and parchment makers, ink-makers and scribes and illuminators, binders and booksellers.
There’s a lot of references to period sources, including quotes from written sources and lots and lots of manuscript images. It’s not a how to, except in making the tools. There’s a fair amount of detail on how to stretch a hide and then scrape it to make the parchment and some photos of a modern reconstruction. There’s actually a lot of images in this book – photos of artefacts and modern reconstructions, and lots and lots of manuscript images. (including an adorable half finished 15th century sketch of French birds.)
Get it from someone who is a good goldbeater; and examine the gold; and if you find it rippling and matt, like goat parchment, then consider it good.
The tone is good and flows well without being too dry.The book is less than 70 pages so it can’t go into great depth about the subject matter, but it does present a good (and well researched) broad brush on the subject matter.
I would recommend this book for anyone getting started in making parchment, ink or looking at getting into illumination. It’s a good history of, and has some information about how to do it, but it is definitely not a “how to”.
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Illuminated manuscripts survive in great numbers from the Middle Ages. They are often beautifully preserved, enabling us to appreciate the skilled design and craftsmanship of the people who created them. Christopher de Hamel describes each stage of production from the preparation of the vellum, pens, paints and inks to the writing of the scripts and the final decoration and illumination of the book. He then examines the role of the stationer or bookshop in co-ordinating book production and describes the supply of exemplars and the accuracy of texts. He follows the careers of a number of specific scribes and illuminators who emerge not as anonymous monks but as identifiable professional lay artisans. He also looks at those who bought the completed books, why they did so, and how much they paid.His survey ranges from the eleventh century through the golden age of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to the luxurious manuscripts existing at the invention of printing. [/tab] [/tabs]