The de Lisle Psalter

AS LAVISH AS A GOTHIC ALTAR

The De Lisle Psalter is a courtly book for which no expense was spared and which in its refined elegance is typical of the Decorated Style under King Edward II in Westminster, one of the finest and most perfect embodiments of Gothic art. It is indeed a great monument to the European Gothic style and counts as one of the finest manuscripts displayed in the British Library’s permanent exhibition at the Sir John Ritblat Gallery.

SKU: 41033 Categories: ,

This outstanding manuscript comprises 38 pages illuminated throughout with 33 partly full-page single miniatures depicting biblical scenes, 12 illustrated full-page theological charts, another schematic representation without figural decoration and a beautifully illuminated calendar at the beginning of the book. It has been suggested that this picture sequence was once the magnificent introduction for a Psalter whose textual pages have been lost or were perhaps never executed. Unfinished masterpiece or fragment? This question will never be answered since the leaves have come down to us as singletons, rather than in the form of assembled quires.

ROBERT DE LISLE, PATRON IN THE SERVICE OF TWO KINGS

Whether Robert de Lisle was the patron or only the first owner of the manuscript is unknown. What we do know is that the outstanding illustration programme was in line with his education and interests. The owner of a series of estates, the Baron Robert de Lisle had been active as Peer to Parliament from an early stage. The kings Edward II and Edward III appreciated his services until 1341, at which point in time he entered a Franciscan monastery in London as its foremost supporter. In 1339 he bequeathed the De Lisle Psalter to his two daughters who had retired to the abbey of Cheqesaundes. And afterwards it will remain forever with the ladies of Cheqesaundes. The manuscript’s artistic and theological value was so important to him that he preferred to leave it to a monastic institution.

EXECUTED IN THE LONDON COURT STYLE

The De Lisle Psalter is a courtly book for which no expense was spared and which in its refined elegance is typical of the Decorated Style under King Edward II in Westminster, one of the finest and most perfect embodiments of Gothic art. The numerous scenes from the Life of Christ which abound with figures and action, are closely related to the panel and altar paintings in English churches of the High Middle Ages.

THE FINE ART FACSIMILE EDITION

The original: British Library, London, Arundel 83 II

19 leaves in format 22.8 x 33.8 cm

33 partly full-page miniatures illustrating biblical events, 12 full-page illustrated theological diagrams, one schematic representation without figural decoration and a calendar

The full-leather binding was modelled on the binding of Add. MS 18972 (Peter Comestor, Historia Scholastica, 1451) in the British Library 

Commentary volume in English by Lucy Freeman Sandler (New York University) 

Both volumes in a cloth box

Limited edition: 800 numbered copies worldwide

 

Weight 3 kg

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