The De Lisle Psalter is indeed a great monument of the European Gothic style and among the finest manuscripts displayed at the British Library.
The Psalter of Robert de Lisle is indeed a great monument of the European Gothic style and among the finest manuscripts displayed in the British Library’s permanent exhibition at the Sir John Ritblat Gallery, among other highlights of the world’s cultural heritage such as the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Bedford Hours, and the Golden Haggadah.
The Psalter of Robert de Lisle comprises 38 pages illuminated throughout with 33 partly full-page single miniatures depicting biblical scenes, an interspersed Speculum Theologiae made up of 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. In the late 16th century, perhaps also in the early years of the 17th century, the Book was bound with a Psalter that was bequeathed to the Royal Society in London in 1667. The British Museum purchased the manuscript in 1831, then titled Howard Psalter-Hours which, due to the integrated Psalter, counts today among the most valuable holdings of the British Library.
(Courtesy of the British Library – View the record for the De Lisle at the BL website)
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