Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 770

[Part 1]

» Full parent manuscript detail

General information

LanguageLanguage object (44)
Approx. datec. 1285
Date notesDate suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project. Arthurian fiction has 1280 to 1290. This date is supported by art-historical evidence (cf. related MS, Le Mans, BM 354, written by Gautier de Kayo, who may also be the scribe of a MS copied in 1282) and the writing.
Place(s) of productionDouai
Place suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project. Arthurian Fiction adds more generally 'Southern Netherlands'.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] Et il me dist . Cou est / li liures v tu trouueras /
First words of last recto folio[f. 354ra] par toute la plaigne . (et) ce dure / bien .xv. iours . tant ke cele /
Incipit[f. 1ra] Chil ki la / hauteche (et) la signo / rie de si / haute es / tore com / est cele del graal ont en / escrit par le (com)mandeme(n)t / del graal maistre mande / met salus a tous ciaus / (et) a toutes celes qui ont / lor creanche en la sain / te trinite . Cou est el pe / re (et) el fil (et) ou saint es / perit . El pere par qui to/
Explicit[f. 354vc] de la vile les requellirent / bien . (et) les ochisent tous (et) p(ri) / sent (et) misent fors .ii. sarra / sins . ke li emperes jauoit lais / sies pour garder le sepucre . / Or nous laisserons de tout / chou ester . de chi aune / autre fois con en parlera .


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Fairly good quality vellum with some holes (ff. 34, 41, 102, 119, 143, 190, 196, 198, 243, 255, 349), many stitches (ff. 5, 16, 21, 27, 28, 29, 37, 53, 87, 107, 115, 132, 155, 164, 219, 225, 228, 229, 233, 235, 239, 246, 250, 251, 259, 264, 318) and instances in which the edge of the skin coincides with the edge of the leaf (ff. 15, 50, 84, 98, 138, 143, 149, 151, 155, 178, 183, 188, 198, 218, 223, 226, 231, 237, 253, 260, 269, 274, 284, 285, 322, 331, 353). In good condition. Wormholes in the first folios. The folio with the end of the 'Estoire' and the beginning of the 'Merli'n (f. 121) was excised and replaced in the c. 1700 to 1740. One folio lost between f. 353 and f. 354.



1-448 452

Quire structure:Mainly regular quaternions. The opening of the Merlin (f. 121) was excised and replaced in the 18th c. The final quire (f. 353 to f. 354) appears to have been irregular. One folio lost between f. 353 and f. 354.
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (10)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:140
General illustration:The 'Estoire' (f. 1ra) opens with a two-column miniature (height: 12 lines) framed in a broad border of pink and blue bars decorated with white flourishings, corners with red quadrangles. The border is framed in goldleaf. The miniature represents two scenes from the prologue: the hermit receiving the book from an angel and the hermit following the beast. The images are framed in gothic architectural arches. The figures have pale skin, curled hair and are dressed in long garment, the folds of which are traced in black ink. The background is gilt. This miniature is near-identical to the upper register of the opening image in Le Mans, BM 354. The 'Histoire d'Outremer' (f. 313ra) opens with a similar miniature. The text is further illustrated with single-column images (height: c. 10 lines), with similar frames and backgrounds.These miniatures are followed by large puzzle initials (height: 5 lines) with flourishing in red and blue and decorated with j-borders in the same colour. Some of the major subdivisions are indicated by historiated initials with gilt backgrounds (height: 7 lines). The colours used in these initials is equally blue and scarlet, , on grounds of the same colour with white flourishings. These images are decorated with borders consisting of red and blue baguettes decorated with goldleaf and droleries. The backgrounds of these initials is gilt.
General decoration:Larger subdivisions are marked by puzzle initials (cf. above), some of which are preceded by illustrations. Further subdivisions are indicated by pen-decorated initials (height: 2 lines) alternatingly between red and blue with flourishings in the contrasting colour and decorated with J-borders in red and blue. Guideletters in the margin.
Evidence of readership:f. 354v: annotations 'Jehan' (in modern hand: 'signature du duc de Normandie'), 'Se liure est a Jeh(a)n de la riuiere / Segneur de chande[...]s qui la(m)blera pa(n)duiz / Sera parmy chen haterel nouta ce dit / Seint Vincent le ??...??', (partially transcribed in a modern hand), 'Je ne quier myeux', 'Ceste liure est sire Pierre des / Essars qui le p(r)esta (et) enuoia a / Mon(seigneur) le Duc de norm(endie) p(ar) / Geuffriu Niuelle de b(ra)nuille / clerc mestre m?a?rtin de mellou' (mirrored, transcribed in modern hand).
Foliations description:Modern foliation in arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the recto.

Mise en page

Description 1Intricate ruling pattern with double vertical throughlines delineating the columns. The first and last line of the folio, and one line in the middle are framed within horizontal throughlines. Additional double horizontal throughlines in the upper margin (15 mm from the justification) and the lower margin (25 mm from the justification). Double vertical throughline in the outer margin (23 mm from the justification).
Page sampledf. 336r
LayoutMSLayout object (3)
Page dimensions318x234 (mm)
Justification267x175 (mm)
15mm 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. 1ra to f. 354rc
Datec. 1275 to 1300
Scribe description:At least two different hands. Northern textualis with two-compartment 'a' the upper compartment of which is open, but also occurence of closed forms, straight 's' in final position, 'v' used in initial position, likewise 'w' for 'uu'. Abbreviations include crossed tironian 'et', superscript vowels, nasal bar, also used for q(ue), 'p' with crossed descender.


DescriptionJean de la Riviere (according to note on f. 354v), seigneur de Champlemy? (cf. Middleton 2006, 75).
Datec. 1450
PlacePlace object (156)
OwnershipPerson object (127)
DescriptionAccording to the note on f. 354v, Pierre des Essars sent the MS to John, Duke of Normandy. This must be the later king of France, John II.
Datec. 1340 to 1349
PlacePlace object (9)
OwnershipPerson object (128)
DescriptionPierre des Essars. May refer to Pierre I (died 1349) or Pierre II des Essars (died 1346, at Crécy). According to the note on f. 354v, he sent the MS to John, duke of Normandy.
Date?1300 to 1349
PlacePlace object (9)
OwnershipPerson object (129)