Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 12573

[Part 1]

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General information

LanguageLanguage object (43)
Approx. datec. 1310
Date notesStones; (Micha 1960, 176) 'Fin du XIIIe siècle'.
Place(s) of productionNorthern France
Stones 'Laon or St.-Quentin'.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] lier (com) ge faz vous .
First words of last recto folio[f. 326ra] ferai (com)paignie
Incipit[f. 1ra] CI endroir dit li contes que / quant agrauains se / partit de ses compaignons / si come vous auez oi : quil / erra .ii. iourz sanz auenture trouer.
Explicit[f. 326vb] A lendemain se parti bohort / de la ioieuse garde . Si en / enuoia en son pais son che / ualier (et) son escuier . (et) manda a ses homes quil feussent tel roi (com)me / il uouldroient . Car il nira iames . [....] / si sen ala bohorz auec larceuesque (et) bli / oberis (et) vsa auec uels le remenant / de sa uie . por lamor de notre seignor . / Si se test a tant mestre Gautierz / map de lestoire de lancelot del lac . Car / bien a tout mene a fin selonc les cho / ses qui auindrent . Si fine ici son li / ure si ueraiement que apres ce non / porroit nus conter quil nen mentist / de toutes choses . Ci fenist la mort le / roi artu . EXPLICIT


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:According to the keeper of manuscripts, the manuscript is in bad condition. In fact, this is mainly true for the binding. The manuscript itself is in good condition except for the first and last folios. The final folio has been badly damaged. The outer half has been cut. Miniatures have been excised from f. 124 and f. 239. On f. 114ra, the text is faded. The parchment is of good quality with no tears, stitches and just a few holes (f. 94, f. 295).


Quire structure:No quire marks or catchwords. The manuscript is tightly bound and given its presumed condition, it did not seem wise to check for binding threads.
Quire marks:MSQuiremarkDisposition object (21)
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (12)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:78
General illustration:One-column illustrations in blue or red frames, decorated with white flourishings and framed in goldleaf. At the corners, the borders are decorated with goldleaf and traced in black ink, vineleaves in blue or red, dragon-like figures, flowers or fleur-de-lys. The images have an approximate height of 12-13 lines. Characters are long and slender, with expressive gestures and curled hair. Faces are white, with sad or blank expressions. Men wear long robes, some elements of decor (trees) and architecture. Folds are accentuated with black ink, little use of shadowing. Backgrounds are goldleaf. The preference for orange and mauve catches the eye.
General decoration:Chapters are generally introduced by a pink or blue initials (height: 4 lines), the eye of which is decorated with tendril-like patterns. Blue initials are painted on a scarlet field, pink initials against a blue field. Initials and backgrounds are decorated with white flourishings. These initials always occur after a miniature, to wich they are attached at the upper side. Further subdivisions are indicated by pen-decorated initials in blue or red (height: 2 lines) with flourishings in the contrasting colour. The frontispiece has a border of baguettes in red and blue with bird-like figure, largely covered by restauration.
Evidence of readership:In the margins, a contemporary hand has added rubric-like plot summaries. These descriptions are in a faded brown ink and sometimes arranged in peculiar patterns (e.g. f. 54r where four constituent parts of the title have been arranged in the shape of a cross). The titles are generally found on folios with a miniature, but there are also exceptions, which indicates that these are not directions for the artist (e.g. f. 54r). Unfortunately, most of these reading aids have been cut. One of the few almost complete ones on f. 55r (again without miniature and written in two bows) reads 'Coment misire yua(n)s / se co(m)bati au misire [...]'. These 'headings' are found throughout the manuscript, also in the 'Queste' and 'Mort'. f. 29v: in 15th c. hand: 'ymeyne du lac' written next to the mention of that name in the text. f. 93v.: 'se par uos non' underlined ; in the intercolumn que & vo(us) f. 97v.: in the outer margin 15th c. annotation, one of which a monogram, unfortunately cut, still visible are the letters 'e but'; below '..ssaigy' '..leure' f. 107v: nota + maniculum pointing towards 'Or dit li contes que qant / lanceloz fu entrez en la forest perillose (etc.)' f. 132r: maniculum and nota 'Or dit li contes que tant / furent li dus cousin a la fontaine (etc.)' f. 145v: in the intercolumn in a 15th c. hand '226' referring to 'dels cenz (et) uint (et) sis' in the text, when Lancelot was welcomed at Kamaalot f. 182v: Nota marking the explicit of the Lancelot 'Ci finist mestre Gautier map / son liure (et) conmance le graas' (followed by a miniature and the start of the 'Queste') f. 183v: in a 15th c. hand '454 que apres la passion ih(es)u crist doit en siege trouver son mestre' referring to the same passage in the text. f. 186r: in 15th c. hand 'St Graal' referring to 'lors entra leanz li sainz graaus couert dun blanc samit' f. 190r: in 15th c. hand in the outer margin next to braces referring to 'Il auint / enpres la passion ihesu crist douze anz / que joseph darimatie li gentils cheua / liers qui despendi nostre seignor de la / sainte veraie croiz se parti de la terre de / iherusalem entre lui (et) grant partie de / son parente' is written 'Josep(hu)s darimathie' f. 201r: in the lower corner, drawing of five coats of arms, partially cut. f. 201v: drawing of a centaur. f. 227v: maniculum pointing towards ' qant il uendra deuant le saint graal' f. 242ra: nota 'q(??) mulieres' next to a section on Salomon and his wife 'QVant Salemonsvit quil ne por / roit durer contre lengin sa fa / me' f. 287r: underlined 'el moustier saint estiene qui alors / estoit la mestre yglise de kamaalot' , in 15th c. hand 'St Estienne [...] moustier de de kamalot' f. 304va: braces next to 'Car iames nauroie enor a nul ior / de ma uie : Car il est plus vils (et) plus ho / niz qui ne se deffent qant il est de trai / son apelez que de nul autre chose del monde (et) por ce licdites de par moi que sil / ueult' f. 322v: in 15th c. hand 'eschalebor' written to the mention in the text. f. 323va: in 15th c. hand 'mort du roy artur' f. 326vb: in a contemporary hand, written below the explicit, partially hidden under restauration 's?o/u?mma di?uicto? libro: victeferi / sexterni . ?(et) due carte sc(ri)pto [...] / pilgla .CCC. XXV J/s ca?n/r?te so' f. 327r: reference to other annotations on f. 182 and 29, again in 15th c. hand 'finist messire gaultier son livre et / apres suyt Le Graal' and 'La mere de Lancelot du Lac auoit nom ymeyne dame du lac' (which obviously is not entirely correct)
Foliations description:Foliation in arabic numerals, centered in the upper margin of the recto side of the folio.

Mise en page

Description 1Double horizontal throughlines at the top and bottom of the justifcation. Double vertical throughlines next to the columns.
Page sampledf. 50r
Page dimensions280x210 (mm)
Justification220x170 (mm)
23mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationOnly used for flourishings of pen-decorated initials.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom f. 1ra to f. 326vb
Datec. 1300
Scribe description:Northern textualis with two-compartment a with upper open compartment. Tongued 'e' at the end of the line. Both round 's' and straight 's' occur in final position. Use of 'v' in initial position. Crossed tironian note. Other abbreviations include the com- and -us abbreviation, nasal bar, superscript vowels.
NotesFirst part of the 'Mort' (f. 257 to 286) written in a lighter, brownish ink.