Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 769

[Part 1]

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General information

Folio notes:na
LanguageLanguage object (3)
Approx. datec. 1340
Date notesStones
Place(s) of productionTournai
Stones: Tournai and England?
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] Je ui ce si an moult lies
First words of last recto folio[f. 81ra] ma grant desloialte si desloialme(n)t
Incipit[f. 1ra] CIl qui la hautece et la seignou / rie de sihaute ystoire com / est / cele du saint graal met n es / crit par le commandement du / grant mestre mande premie / rement salus atous ceulz et / atoutes celles qui ont leur / creances ala sainte trinite / Cest ou pere . Et oufilz Et / ou Sainct esperit.
Explicit[f. 81vb] Et se vous vees ancho / is mo(n) seigneur Joseph q(ue) je ne ferai Salu /es le moy . Et li dittes q(ue) ai(n)ssi(n)?c? le me couui(en)t


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Generally in fair condition. The ink is very light or has faded. Four miniatures have been cut (f. 1ra. f. 3ra, f. 4vb and f. 69ra). Stains on f. 1v-f. 2r, f, 26v-27r, f. 40v. Good quality parchment, although more holes and stitches towards the end of the manuscript (holes: f. 56, f. 67, f. 68 and f. 72; stitches: f. 27, f. 34, f. 59, f. 66, f. 68, f. 75, f. 81).



1-88 96 108 113

Quire structure:The manuscript consist of quaternions, except for quire 9 which is a sexternion and the final defective quire which has three folios. Since the text ends abruptly at the bottom of f. 81vb, the vellum flyleaves at the end of the manuscript are probably not part of the final quire. Unfortunately, the manuscript is too tightly bound to ascertain this. If so, this would be additional proof that this copy was a stillborn project, which for some reason was abandoned in the middle of the transcription.
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (13)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:52
General illustration:On f. 3ra, 4vb, 69va, images have been excised. It appears that these images were historiated initials rather than miniatures. Half of the opening-miniature on f. 1ra has also been cut. The images in the lowers register suggest it was a quadripartite image representing the way in which the hermit obtained the book of the grail. Backgrounds are decorated with a checkered motif, illuminated with goldleaf, Characters are slenders, faces are pink. Folds are suggested by shadowing rather than accentuated with black ink. The colours primarily used are blue and red. The image is framed in blue and pink borders decorated with whited flourishings in the form of wavy patterns. At the corners the frame is decorated with goldleaf. Evidence on f. 69va suggests that images were decorated with ivy the leaves of which were gilt. The opening miniature is followed by a historiated initial (height: 9 lines). The initial is executed in blue, decorated with goldleaf (the majority of which has disappeared). The field on which the initial is painted is scarlet and was originally framed in gold. The image represents a monk writing. The frontispiece is further ornamented with a decorated initial I extending in red and blue baguettes decorated with goldleaf. Tendrils of Ivy (blue, red and gold) partially cover these branches. As from f. 5v we find 47 drawings in black ink to which a greyish gesso has been applied. One of these images (f. 5va) is a miniature (height: 16 lines) representing the capture of Joseph. This initial is accompanied by a large initial (height: 6 lines) the eye of which is decorated with ivy. The other images are historiated initials which in the corners are ornamented with ivy-leaves. The background of these initials was intended to be gilt or checkered. According to the information of the BnF the drawings on f. 5 to 8 are contemporary. The other images would be later, French additions of the early fifteenth century. There are indeed differences with the first images: the drawings are in pencil, rather than ink. Characters are more stocky, heads are rounder. Elements of fashion, such as dress and hair (e.g. the kneeling figure on f. 18ra; full plate armour f. 21va, f. 22ra; the horned headdress e.g. on f. 52ra, f. 54ra, f. 57ra worn c. 1410-1420) may indicate a later dating. Stones tentatively suggests that these drawings may have been added in England.
General decoration:Chapters are generally introduced by historiated initials. Further subdivisions are marked by champ initials (height: 2 lines), gilt and painted on a red or blue field with white flourishings, the eye painted in the contrasting colour. As opposed to the illustration, all champ initials have been executed.
Evidence of readership:none
Foliations description:Modern foliation in arabic numerals in the upper right-hand corner of the recto. Contemporary foliation in roman numerals at the bottom of the outer margin. On f. 1-7, the foliation is on the recto, f. 8 it is on the verso side of the folio. F. 9 the foliation appears on the recto, on the following leaves it is on the verso side. This foliation stops at f. 33.

Mise en page

Description 1
Page sampledf. 10r
Page dimensions345x255 (mm)
Justification250x183 (mm)
15mm between columns
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationNo rubrication.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom f. 1ra to f. 81vb
Datec. 1300 to 1350
Scribe description:Northern textualis with double compartment 'a' the upper compartment of which is closed. Exclusive use of round 's' in final position. 't' with distinctive dropping hairline at the end of the horizontal stroke. Use of 'v' in initial position. Abbreviations include nasal bar, apostrophe, superscript vowels, p with bar through descender, com- and -us abbreviation. 'Et' is generally written in full, some crossed tironian notes. Interesting mask decoration attached to litterae notabiliores (f. 12v