Jun 18, 2015

25 best from the Luttrell Psalter

Thanks for waiting, and here it is: another compilation of weird medieval manuscript images from Medieval Codes researcher Courtney Tuck.

The Luttrell Psalter (London, British Library MS Additional 42130) was created for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, the lord of Irnham in Lincolnshire, England. It has been dated to 1276-1345 and it is currently housed in the British Library, which has digitized it for online access. Sir Geoffrey and his family are depicted within the Psalter’s pages, as well as scenes of daily life. Those, however, are only some of the intriguing and entertaining marginal illustrations found in the Luttrell Psalter.  As I had previously created a top ten most memorable marginal illuminations from the Macclesfield Psalter for an earlier blog post, I attempted to do the same for the Luttrell.  This, however, would not be as easy a task due to the large amount of memorable illustrations. The first list I attempted to compile had over 70 images in it. While all were interesting, I thought perhaps that would be too much. I persevered and was able to narrow it down to 25 of the most memorable images. As I was working through this manuscript I was actually able to use the images as mnemonic devices in case I lost my place, which was one of their original functions. There was one word that I kept using to describe these images: wacky! Many animal-human hybrids as well as invented creatures get up to hi-jinks and even interact with humans within the margins. Let us take a look at these top 25 most memorable images from the Luttrell Psalter, as well as how they have been perceived by my modern mind.
25 - This horse/human/bat hybrid is standing in a saucy contrapposto position. We could all take a lesson in such confidence and effortless style.  Work it, you feisty creature, you!

Jun 3, 2015

The International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo - A Review

Kalamazoo in May (detail). Image: Yin Liu, 2013.
The International Medieval Congress held annually in Kalamazoo, Michigan is well-known by all of its regular attendees for being a unique combination of rigorous scholarship, expertise, and answer-seeking tainted with ribaldry, camaraderie, and an incorrigible excitement for books and imbibing. This year, May 2015, marked the 50th anniversary since the congress’ inception. I was fortunate enough to attend, playing the part of an envoy on behalf of the Medieval Codes project from the University of Saskatchewan. Approximately 3,000 medieval scholars gather at the congress which itself features more than 550 sessions of papers, panel discussions, round tables, workshops, and performances. Evening meetings and receptions are sponsored by academic institutions and societies. Nearly 70 exhibitors, including publishers, used book dealers, as well as artists and craftsmen fill the exhibits hall with their wares.