Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 123

[Part 1]

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General information

Folio notes:Folio(s) wanting between 139 and 140.
LanguageLanguage object (47)
Approx. datec. 1275
Date notesDate suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project. Consistent with Jonas and Arthurian fiction, which both have 1275-1280. Supported by writing. Two-compartment ''a with open upper compartment, both straight and round 's' in final position, vertical stroke of 't' slightly ascending above the headstroke.
Place(s) of productionLondon
Place suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project. Arthurian Fiction has 'Artois, France (also connections to Artois)'. The linguistic colouring of the transcription, along with evidence from the explicit / colophon supports English, probably London, provenance.
Table of contentsf. 1r to 2r. Contemporary table of contents of two folios with 90 titles in long lines, each starting with 'De', the initial 'D' alternatingly in blue and red. Each title is numbered with a roman numeral in front of the title. The 'letters/digits' of the numeral are alternatingly blue and red. These roman numerals appear centered in the upper margin of the recto and verso side of the folio.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2r] LX DE  Galaad ki est entrez en la queste du seint graal E coment le rei Bademagu fu navrez / [f. 4ra] la place kil est alez . E si nen i a nul ki do /
First words of last recto folio[f. 264ra] C Eu iour meismes ke le cors Launcelot /
Incipit[f. 1ra] I  DE launcelot . e coment la soer meleagaunt le deliura de la tour des mares ou me / leagaunt lout fet mettre en prison . E coment il se combati o meleagaunt e loscit . / [f. 3ra] M Eleagaunt aueit / une sorour dont / li contes a parle / ca en arieres . a ki / Launcelot dona la / teste dun cheualer / kil ocist [...]
Explicit[f. 264rb] [...] e define son liure si outrement / ke apres ceo nenporreit nus raconter / chose ki nen mentist . // Ci faut la mort le reis arturs / Ki dreituriers esteit . car durs / Ert as felons e puis as purs / Nert pas amis nas gius nas turs / Na ceus ki sont les faus murmurs. / Nespout garauntir tour ne murs ; / Ne londres nen espaigne burs ; / Ki nes feist de mort seurs. / Por ceo die chescun por de / Pater noster e mari aue / Ke deu por sa seinte pite / Li doint sa grace destre sauue. / E lalme celui ki a note / Cest liure ki est bien long e le / Mette in si num abrahe. Am(en). //


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:High quality, generally thick and rigid vellum; in good condition.



12 (ff. 1-2) 2-78 (ff. 3-50) 810 (ff. 51-60) 9-298 (ff. 61-260) 304 (ff. 261-264)

Quire structure:The table of contents is copied in a separate bifolium. The 'Queste' and 'Mort' both begin in a new quire.
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (10)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:90
General illustration:Major parts of the cycle ('Meleagant': f. 1r 'Queste': f. 197r, 'Mort': f. 229r) are illustrated with large and elaborately decorated historiated initials (height: 7-9 lines). Subdivisions of the text are introduced by historiated initials (height, 5 lines, pink on a blue field or vice versa) which excel in their use of space (e.g. f. 106: a knight climbs of his horse standing behind/besides the initial into the eye of 'O').
General decoration:The text is further subdivided by means of blue initials (height: 2 lines) with flourishings in red ink. Characteristic is the use of droleries, dragons and chimaerae executed in red ink as line fillers. The fleurs de lys present on the blue background of some images, together with a motif of or on gules (e.g. ff. 137, 140, 169, 197, 224, 227, 229) may reference the arms of Edmund Crouchback. The French royal arms in the lower margin of f. 3r have been painted over the arms of Louis of Bruges, lord of Gruuthuse.
Evidence of readership:On f. 1r, old shelfmarks: '30', 'trois-cents quarante-deux', '6794'. Maniculae throughout (ff. 87va-88rab, 93ra, 95rab, 95v, 96rab, 96vab, 97ra, 98va, 105rab, 105vb, 107ra, 108vb, 110rab, 111rb, 111vb, 112rb, 121vb, 122va, 123ra, 123v, 124rb, 124vb, 127ra, 127v, 128r, 128vb, 138rb, 138v, 138rb, 139v, 140r, 141r, 142r, 211rb. On f. 89v, modern annotation: 'omission de lenlevement de lionel'.
Foliations description:Modern foliation in the upper right corner of the recto side of the folio. The Roman numerals in red and blue centered in the upper margin refer to the chapters as in the table of contents at the beginning of the manuscript.

Mise en page

Description 1Layout in two columns. Before the first text-column a column of 20 mm is delineated. The intercolumnar space (18mm) is divided in two to allow the initials to protrude into the margin. After the second text-column, a column of 37 mm is delineated, bordered by a column of 5 mm. Below the justification a spacde of 50 mm is delineated, bordered by another space of 5 mm. Above the justification a space of 25 mm is delineated. Possibly, these outer margins indicated where the quires needed to be cut.
Page sampledf. 27r
LayoutMSLayout object (3)
Page dimensions435x290 (mm)
Justification315x185 (mm)
18mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationNo tituli in red ink.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom f. 1r to f. 264rb
Datec. 1275
Scribe description:Northern textualis rotundus with two-compartment 'a' the upper of which is open. Diacritic on i in al positions. H-like form of majuscule 'N'. The upper stroke of 'r' turns upward in final position. Both straight and round 's' are used in final position. Remarkably few abbreviations: superscript 'a' in q(ua)nt. Otherwise, everything is written in full. Punctus and punctus elevatus.
NotesThe scribe mentions his name: Abraham


DescriptionProbably after Gruuthuse's death in 1492, the manuscripts entered the library of Louis XII of France, who had Gruuthuse's arms overpainted.
Date1492 to 1515
PlacePlace object (146)
OwnershipPerson object (19)
DescriptionManufactured for Edmund Crouchback and Blanche of Artois?
Datec. 1275
PlacePlace object (8)
OwnershipPerson object (25)
DescriptionLouis of Bruges, Lord of Gruuthuse.
Datec. 1475
PlacePlace object (145)
OwnershipPerson object (18)