Grotesques, the symbolic meaning of snails, religious devotion, family life, and the hierarchy of medieval society – all of these things and more make up the fascinating world of the Luttrell Psalter, a medieval manuscript that is one of the most detailed accounts of medieval life in existence. This brand new gallery space offers visitors a chance to take an illuminating, interactive journey into the world of the Psalter.
Owned by the British Library and displayed in the Treasures Gallery, the Psalter was made for wealthy landowner Sir Geoffrey Luttrell in the 14th century. Lavishly illustrated, the Psalter is exceptional among manuscripts of this period for its abundance of detailed depictions of everyday life. This new display in The Folio Society Gallery will focus on these illustrations, exploring what they can tell us about life in the Middle Ages, from food and drink to music and entertainment, from the treatment of illnesses to the sharpening of knifes.
Innovative interactive elements invite visitors to take a closer look at some of the Luttrell Psalter's illustrations. A short film offers an insight into how illuminated manuscripts of this kind were produced and the exhibition also explains the symbolism of certain objects and animals in the manuscript. Visitors can play a fun sound game, which challenges them to identify familiar and unfamiliar sounds, inspired by the manuscript's imagery, against the clock. A computer interactive shows an image of a feasting scene that can be seen in the Psalter, revealing more about the people who appear in the scene, the food and drink that they would be enjoying and the tableware being used. Grotesques, the bizarre beasties that appear throughout the manuscript, form part of the exhibition, which also allows visitors to create their own grotesque!