Dec 21, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Luttrell Psalter, fol. 12r
It's been a very long time since we posted to this blog, and I apologise. Work on the Medieval Codes project is still rolling along, but a lot of it is being done by the student researchers on the team, while the lead investigator (that's me) deals with the shock of life (or sublife) after returning from sabbatical leave. We hope to have lots of good stuff coming in the new year. In the meantime, here's our annual Christmas post.

This time we went to an old friend, the Luttrell Psalter (London, British Library MS Additional 42130). If you have looked at Courtney Tuck's post on the illustrations in this marvellous manuscript, you know that there is no lack of weirdness and wonderfulness in its margins. Here's an example: on fol. 12r, opposite calendar entries listing saints' days for the month of December, is this strange grotesque, which seems to be a scowly winged person with antlers. And they are illuminated antlers, at that. An angel crossed with a reindeer? Has our artist had too much anachronistic Christmas cheer? I don't know what to make of it either.

Let us learn to live with bafflement, and enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas from fourteenth-century England.

Yin Liu