Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 19162

[Part 1]

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General information

Folio notes:Strangely, after the end of the 'Suite Vulgate' (f. 372va), in the b-column space is left for a historiated initial and the beginning of the prologue of the 'Estoire' (also on f. 1ra) has been copied.
LanguageLanguage object (44)
Approx. datec. 1275 to 1300
Date notesThe Lancelot-Graal Project suggests c. 1275 to 1285. Arthurian Fiction has 1280-1290. Jonas gives c. 1285.
Place(s) of production
Stones 2013, 69 locates the MS in St.-Omer. The Lancelot-Graal project suggests St.-Omer or Thérouanne. Arthurian Fiction lists Thérouanne and Cambrai.
First words of second recto folio[f, 2ra] mise en escrit . Lautre raisons si est porce /
First words of last recto folio[f. 372ra] en m(er)chie no(st)re signor et lui . Et lors li de / manda li rois ki il est et de q(ui)l gent . et /
Incipit[f. 1rb] CHil ki se / tient et / iuge au / pl(us) peceor / de tous . / mande / salus el / (com)mence / me(n)t de ceste estoi / re et atous chiaus ki leur cuers et lor / creance ont en la sai(n)te trinite . cest el p(er)e / Cest el fil . cest el saint esp(er)it /
Explicit[f. 372va] Explicit lenserrement de merlin / Diex nous maint tous aboine fin . ame(n) [f. 372vb] vielte . Laut(r)e raisons est porce ke ceus / porroit oir son non ki le conislroit si / en priseroit mains lestoire por ce ke il / tant perite persone et poure eust este /

Related MS

Stones 2013, 69 (correct shelfmark: BnF 24394, not 24295) lists these MSS as products from a Saint-Omer workshop. The segmentation (explicits) and illustration of these manuscripts is very similar.
RelationshipType object (7)Manuscript object (212)
Manuscript object (214)


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Good quality vellum with few holes (e.g. ff. 2, 102, 154, 155, 163, 284, 291, 292, 308, 349, 354, f. 368) and stitches (e.g. ff. 45, 117, 177, 190, 191, 252, 286, 298, f340). In a number of instances the edge of the skin (partially) coincides with the edge of the sheet (e.g. ff. 40, 46, 57, 113, 137, 138, 139, 180, 181, 194, 314, 359). The first and last pages (especially the final folio) are worn. Some of the illustration/decoration is smeared.



1-178 1912 20-248 257 26-468 475

Quire structure:The manuscript is made up of regular quaternions. The longer quire 18 (f. 133 to f. 144), a sexternion, allows the 'Merlin' to start in a new quire. Quire 25 (f. 193 to 199) is an irregular quire of seven folios. In its present state, the final quire (f. 368 to 372) consists of five folios. Possibly folios have been lost between f. 369 and f. 370 and at the end of the quire.
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:

Physical description

General illustration:The manuscript opens with a frontispiece (strangely on the verso side of the first folio, the arrangement of the parchment in quires is hairside-out). On f. 1v, a miniature in three registers portraying episodes from the prologue occupies the first column in its entirety. The b-column opens with a historiated initial (height: 10 lines) which represents a fourth episode. The illustrations on this folio are heavily worn and especially the goldleaf in the backgrounds and frames has peeled off. The miniatures are framed in broad, blue and red frames with gilt quadrangles in the corners and decorated with white flourishings. The frames have been lined in goldleaf. Figures are tall and slender, in long dress, the folds of which are indicated by black ink. The main colours are blues and pinks. Single-column images (height: 10 lines) in the text. These are generally followed by decorated initials (see below), but not always, branching into borders consisting of blue and red bars inhabited by dragons, animals or hybrid figures, such as a winged dragon with the head of a noble lady or the head of a dog (e.g. ff. 6r, 13v, 22r, 32r, 40v, 42r). On f. 144vb, the 'Estoire' ends with an explicit: 'Explicit li (com)mencem(en)s delestoire del S(aint) graal. Et chi ap(re)s vient lestoire de merlin . Dieus nous mai(n)t tous aboine fin . amen .' On f. 145r 'Merlin' opens with a large miniature (height: 12 lines) , representing Christ and a demon. The page is decorated with an L-border inhabited by monkeys playing at dice and supporting a tourney scene between monkeys, one riding a goat, the other a cock.
General decoration:On ff. 60, 80, 231 (always connected to 'li contes' or 'lestoire') are large decorated initials (height: 6 lines), f. 104v (height: 3 lines). The text is further structured by means of champ-like initials (height: 2 lines ) on fields d of blue and pink decorated with white flourishings. The eye of the letter is alternatingly filled blue and pink. Some of these initials are preceded by a miniature.
Evidence of readership:On f. 2r.: note pasted in 'Ex bibliotheca MSS COISLINIANA, olim SEGUERIANA, quam illust. HENRICUS DU CAMBOUT, Dux DE COISLIN, Par Franciae , Episcopus Metensis, &c. Monasterio S. Germania à Pratis legavit. An. M. DCC. XXXII.' Noted in the lower margin in an old shelfnumber 'N. 1837'. On f. 4v.: lower margin 'jenot de tau??ria??da' 'a??u/n??ior?m?elia a encep(er)ante'. (14th c.) On f. 180va: note in the outer margin 'les noe' 'En si ot' 'En si ot'; copy of the start of the paragraphs on this folio. On f. 345v: note in the lower margin.
Foliations description:Modern foliation in roman numerals in the upper right corner of the recto.

Mise en page

Description 1
Page sampledf. 9r
LayoutMSLayout object (3)
Page dimensions350x245 (mm)
Justification240x165 (mm)
13mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationNo rubricated tituli.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom f. 1ra to f. 372vb
Datec. 1300
Scribe description:Slightly fractured Northern textualis with two-compartment 'a' the upper lobe of which is closed (double-bow 'a'). In general round 's' in final position, although occasionally straight 's' in this position also. A marked 'e' with tongue, descender of 'p' curves to the right, headstroke of 't' curves downwards at the end in final position, 'v' used in initial position. Abbreviations include nasal bar, apostrophe, superscript vowels, 'p' with bar through descender 'com'- and -'us' abbreviations, 'et' is generally written in full by the first hand, later also occurences of crossed tironian 'et', which may point towards another hand. 'st'-ligature.