The Psalter of Robert De Lisle...

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The Psalter of Robert de Lisle is 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.

In 1339 Robert de Lisle bequeathed this lavishly decorated psalter t to his daughters. Although the exact dates of the manuscript is not known, it is thought that the two artists responsible for the illuminations painted 20 years apart. Not only do the pages from this psalter display an 'elegance and sophistication, typical of the Decorated style fostered at Westminster by Edward II'*, the manuscript also provides a fascinating interpretation on the ideas of the scholastic theologian philosopher St. Bonaventura.


It took three years of intensive work to complete the facsimile edition of the Psalter of Robert de Lisle, which is limited to 800 copies on a worldwide basis. The faithful reproduction of all 38 pages (19 leaves) with 33 partly full-page single miniatures illustrating biblical events, 12 full-page illustrated theological diagrams, one schematic representation without figural decoration, and a calendar, was carried out under the aegis of Müller & Schindler publishers.

The gold chiselling has been rendered with a process specially developed for this purpose. All leaves have been trimmed according to the original and gilt-edged. The full-leather binding was modelled on the binding of Add. MS 18972 ( Peter Comestor, Historia Scholastica, 1451) of the British Library.
The commentary volume accompanying the facsimile is authored by a reputed expert specialising in medieval Psalters and English illumination, Mrs. Lucy Freeman Sandler (New York University), with reference to her earlier publications.

*The Psalter of Robert de Lisle, Lucy Freeman Sandler, M&S, 2010

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