The Luttrell Psalter is rich with images of everyday village life in the 14th century. In a series of detailed illustrations significant events of the medieval agricultural year, from sowing to harvesting, including the odd domestic incident on the way, are all portrayed. Our aim was to do on film what the original artist achieved on vellum through a keen observation of people and nature, an infinite attention to detail and a sense of humour (note how the crow tucks into the grain from the sack in behind the sower’s back)! However, we needed to consult many specialists before we could to bring these images to life.
We took the Luttrell Psalter to farmers, shepherds, rare breed specialists, agricultural historians, wind and water millers, apiarists and fishermen. We consulted archaeologists, medieval historians, Luttrell Psalter historians and specialist potters. We spoke to people about horse breeds and horse harnesses. We studied the dress of the period and consulted spinners, weavers and dyers. We studied the images of plants, animals and insects in the Psalter and looked at the flora and fauna of medieval England, comparing it to today’s habitat. We talked to re-enactors who have practical experience of medieval lifestyles. We also spent many happy hours pouring over the pages with medieval musical instrument and music specialists.
We visited museums and travelled to many places to in our researches (and not just via the internet). We visited Kentwell Hall, the Weald and Downland Museum, Laxton, Formby, South Wales and many more places. More on many of these points later.