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Harvey Miller
L. Freeman-Sandler
The Lichtenthal Psalter

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180 p., 70 b/w ill. + 40 colour ill., 180 x 270 mm, 2004
ISBN: 978-1-872501-13-0
Languages: English
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The recent discovery of an unknown fourteenth-century English manuscript in a German Cistercian convent has brought to light an exquisite, richly illustrated psalter, which is analysed and illustrated here for the first time.
Although this remarkable find in Lichtenthal Abbey, near Baden-Baden, had been identified as belonging to a group of manuscripts associated with the prominent and royally-connected Bohun family, neither its illustrations nor its relationship to other Bohun manuscripts had until now been fully explored.
In tracing the history of the Bohun family and their manuscript patronage, Professor Sandler places the Lichtenthal Psalter as a product of the 1380s in company with three other psalters of similar format, each produced by the closely knit groupt of scibes and artists who worked in the Bohun family residence at Pleshley Castle in Essex. She describes in detail the contents of the manuscript, its text and decoration, and offers evocative descriptions and penetrating interpretations of the meticulously depicted images that illustrate the Calendar, the Psalms, and the Office of the Cross. The author also examines in particular the style and execution of the historiated initials and bas-de-page Old Testament scences that illustrate the psalms in a continuous narrative sequence from the Creation to the Life of Moses. She compares these to the pictorial programs of the related Bohun psalters, and provides further evidence for the identification of the scribes and artists whose skill and inventiveness created one of the most outstanding group of illuminated manuscripts in fourteenth-century England.
Every full-page miniature in the Lichtenthal Psalter is here reproduced in colour and in the size of the original. In addition there are enlarged detail reproductions in black-and-white of many of the intricate and tiny figure compositions that illustrate the biblical narrative, as well as comparative illustrations of other related Bohun manuscripts. The latter are listed in full, with relevant literature, in an Appendix.

Review

"The Lichtenthal Psalter is an exemplary monograph, which focuses on an individual manuscript and yet raises issues that go well beyond its chronological, geographical or disciplinary boundaries. It bears a formidable scholarly baggage lightly. It is informative, provocative and delightful." (Stella Panayotova: Times Literary Supplement, March 18 2005)

"A distinguished book and a fine model of a monographic publication." (L. Nees: Choice, May 2005, 42-5057)

"This is an important addition to the literature on the Bohun manuscripts because of the way that it demystifies the problems of attribution and iconographical complexity." (M.A. Michael: The Burlington Magazine, CXLVII, August 2005, p.555)

"Lucy Sandler is the undisputed expert on English manuscript illumination of the fourteenth century. (...) Detailed analysis of all aspects of the book, allows the modern reader, as it were, to look over the shoulder of, progressively, the scribe, illuminator and reader of the Lichtenthal psalter as he or she turns the pages of Sandler's book, which recreates the experience of the original with impressive accuracy and immediacy." (J. Hamburger: Scriptorium, 2005, 1, p.44*, n°108)

"The production values of The Lichtenthal Psalter are high. (...) In other words, the visual support for the textual arguments is available to the reader, a rare treat in these days of increasing costs of photography, permissions, and printing for both authors and publishers. And Sandler's writing carries an authority that few art historians of our time can muster. (...)The Lichtenthal Psalter, despite its relatively small size, is an important book - in much the same way that the Lichtenthal Psalter itself, even smaller in scale, is an important manuscript." (A. Rudloff Stanton: The Medieval Review, 2 January 2007)

"L. F. Sandler nous offre une monographie exemplaire d'un psautier des années 1380-1394, et une nouvelle contribution majeure à l'histoire de l'art gothique anglais. (...) cette publication du Psautier de Lichtenthal est un nouvel exemple de l'apport majeur de l'histoire du livre et de l'enluminure à la compréhensions de vastes pans de la culture médiévale." ( Christian Heck dans: Bulletin Monumental, N° 164-III, 2006, p. 323-324)

"It unquestionably serves as a very important contribution to our knowledge." ( L. Dennison in Speculum, July 2006, p. 915-918)

Interest Classification:
Book History, Manuscript Studies & Palaeography
Codicology
Illumination & illustration of books
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Painting
Medieval painting

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