Manchester, John Rylands Library, French 1 (vol. 2)

[Part 1]

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General information

LanguageLanguage object (44)
Approx. datec. 1310 to 1320
Date notesBased on the date of London, BL, Additional 10292-4 (c. 1317) to which this manuscript is intimately related. This copy may be slightly earlier than the Additional manuscript.
Place(s) of productionNorthern France
Stones 2010 locates the manuscript in Ghent, Tournai or Saint-Omer. Stones 2013, 65-66 more confidently situates the artists involved in the production of the manuscript (the Douce 5 and Douce 6 artists) in Tournai, but also expresses the possibility that the Douce 5 painter was active in Liege or Luxembourg. The Douce 6 artist seems to have collaborated quite frequently in commissions coming from Ghent and also illustrated manuscripts written in Dutch.
First words of second recto folio[f. 131ra] des tu fait mesire y(vain) pour chou fait il que se- /
First words of last recto folio[f. 257ra] parchaoir brise li glaiue (et) chil gist a /
Incipit[f. 130ra] dart tout droit et les ferons . si quil soient / tout esbahi . Et se nous pouons tant faire entre moi et vous . que nous puissons cel / estandart abatre . Je ne quit quil aient mais / duree a nous . et me sires G(auvain) dist que ce est / le meillour conseil q(ue) il yuoie . Lors enuient / a hector et li dist ce quil auoient pourparle / entraus deus . (et) il si acorde trop uolentiers / si se tornerent derriere lez paueillons (et) sen / vont droit a la darreniere bataille dez rou / mains . Et q(ua)nt li roumain lez voient ue /
Explicit[f. 257vb] Qvant li ch(eua)l(ie)r le roi yon virent leur / signor mort . il se claiment las cai / tif (et) (com)me(n)chent aplourer (et) afaire trop / gra(n)t duel (et) p(ar) le duel remest la cache . et saresterent tuit entour le cors et / qua(n)t chil q(ui) deua(n)t fuioient vire(n)t que / chil estoient arreste sour le cors . il sore(n)t tantost q(ue) chestoit aucune haute p(er)sone .


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Good quality vellum with few holes and stitches. Some stains e.g. f. 249. In general, this volume looks more worn than volume 1.



Full collation (Douce + Rylands volumes) 18(A, Douce ff. 1-8), lacuna, 27 (B, ff. 1-7) 38 (C, ff. 8-15) 47 (D, ff. 16-22) 5-68 (E-F, ff. 23-30; 31-38), 77 (G, ff. 39-45), 8-98 (H-I, ff. 46-53, 54-61) 1010 (J, ff. 62-71) 114 (K, ff. 72-75) 126 (L, 76-81) 13-248 (M-X ff. 82-89, 90-97, 98-195, 106-113, 114-121, 122-129 // Rylands II: ff. 130-137, 138-145, 146-153, 154-161, 162-169, 170-177), 254 (Y ff. 178-181), lacuna of one leaf, 267 (Z  ff. 182-188), 27-298 (AA-CC, ff. 189-196, 197-204, Douce ff. 9-16), 307 (DD Douce ff. 17-23), 314 (EE Douce ff. 24-27), 324(FF Douce ff. 28-31), 338 (GG Douce 32-39), 347 (HH ff. 205-211), 351(II Douce ff. 45), 3610(JJ ff. 212-217, 218-221), 378 (kk ff. 222-229) 384 (LL ff. 230-233) , 39-418 (MM-OO ff. 234-241,242-249. 250-257), lacuna, 425 (PP Douce ff. ff. 40-44), ending incomplete. (Corrected from Stones 2010, which has quire 36 as two ternions, but in fact it is one quinion).

Quire structure:130r: CIV, 66 interpolation: f. 140vb-167ra 181v 182r = opening queste 204v Explicit Queste is in Douce 215 (et) chil ert desloiaus (et) crueus (com)me / chil ki tous ert estrades de maluaise lig / 205r Opening mort Apres che / q(ue) mais / tres gau / tiers map / ot traitie des aue(n)tures / del sai(n)t / graal asses / souffis / saument / si (com)me il / fu auis / au roi henri son signour ke che quil / auoit fait nen deuoit pas souffrir sil / ne racontoit la fin de chiaus dont il / 257v
Quire marks:MSQuiremarkDisposition object (60)
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (20)

Physical description

General illustration:One-column miniatures (height: 9-12 lines), usually preceded by a rubricated caption (directions erased in the margins, cf. Pickford 1948). Broad frames in blue and scarlet, with white flourishings and red-orange qudrangles in the corners. Backgrounds are goldleaf, decor sketchy (some elements of vegetation). Characters are tall, the folds of their garments indicated in ink as well as with shadowing. Stones 2013 has identified the artists as Douce 5 and Douce 6. Douce 5 also appears in London, BL, MS Additional 12092-4 and London, BL, MS Royal 14 E iii. Lancelot's arms are a lion rampant gules on a field argent (which are the arms of Limbourg). It is interesting to note that Douce 5 worked on a 'Tresor' manuscript (c. 1308-1311) which may have been commissioned for Henri de Luxembourg and Margaret of Brabant-Limbourg. In the 15th-c. added illustrations, Lancelot bears the more common white shield with three red bends. The majority of the miniatures in the 'Queste' part seem more old-fashioned, and often are framed in architectural arches. Stones 2013 has identified this artist as Douce 6. The execution of the champ initials looks cruder and are The work of hand 2 (Stones 2010). In this part there is no definite link between rubric and miniature. In fact, the rubric on f. 188v, 'chest .s. iorges (et)/ galadz' looks more like an afterthought, added in part of a line which coincidentally was not filled. It appears as if space had been left for illustrations and miniatures, which the painter, obviously mistakenly, filled in completely. This becomes apparent from the illustration at the bottom of f. 198vb, followed by a (space for) rubric on f. 199ra. The principal artist. Douce 5, understood The procedure correctly and left space for a rubric to be added (e.g. f. 208rb). In the 'Queste' also, 15th century paintings have been adder in the bas-de-page on folios with champ initials without original illustrations. On f. 212, the 'Mort Artu' opens with a frontispiece, very similar to the one found in volume 1. The combination miniature-champ initial has been substituted for a large historiated initial portraying Henry II and Walter Map. Again, The bordes are inhabited by apes, one of which is pruning the vines, the other being suckled by a nun. In The borders are also bowmen, pointing at birds and hybrids, a rabbit and a pair of lovers. Possibly, the Queste opened with a similar frontispiece, which, given that the first folio of the quire is missing, had now been lost.
General decoration:Large champ initials (height: 5-8 lines), goldleaf on blue and pink fields decorated with white flourishings indicate major subdivisions of the text (usually at a 'li contes' intervention). Frequently - but not always, these initials occur in the vicinity of a miniature, but not necessarily immediately (cf. supra) and rubricated caption or chapter heading. In the majority of cases in which the initial was not accompanied by a miniature (1 in MS Douce 215, 13 in Rylands, MS French 1, vol. 1) a later artist (Stones dates him to c. 1400) has added one-column paintings in the lower margin. Although in the late 14th, early 15th century the use of goldleaf for the backgrounds must have appeared archaic, this ensures that the added miniatures fit in with the contemporary illustration already present in the manuscript (e.g. f. 13va, f. 15rb). The text is further structured by means of pen-decorated initials (height: 2 lines), alternating between blue and red, with flourishings in the contrasting colour and emanating into blue and red j-borders spanning the height of the column. According to Stones 2010, two hands (P2, P3) are responsible for the pen-flourishing in the Douce-Rylands volumes with an additional third hand (P1) also occurring in the first two volumes of the Olim Amsterdam manuscript.
Evidence of readership:
Foliations description:Two sets of modern foliation in arabic numerals in the upper right hand corner of the recto. The first begins '176' and has been scored out at a later stage. The second runs from 130 to 257 and bears witness to the current order of folios in the manuscript, not taking into account the Douce quires and folios which have been removed.

Mise en page

Description 1Horizontal throughlines at the top, middle and bottom of the justification.
Page sampledf. 131r
Page dimensions398x285 (mm)
Justification298x200 (mm)
18mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationUsed for decorated initials and rubricated captions
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:None
Folio rangeFrom to
Scribe description:According to Stones 2010, scribe D of the Olim Amsterdam volume. Large, legible hand. Northern textualis with double compartment 'a', the upper compartment of which is closed (double-bow 'a'. few examples of box-like 'a'), ascenders clubbed or forked, exclusively round 'd', 'e' tongued in final position, bow of 'h' extends below the baseline and curves to the left, use of 'i' longa in numerals,diacritic on 'i' in minim group, straight and round 's' in final position with distinct preference for round 's', use of 'v' in initial position. Biting of 'o' and round 'r', 'd' and 'e', 'd' and 'o', 'p' and 'o'. Abbreviations include nasal bar, apostrophe, superscript vowels, 'com'-abbreviation, -'us' abbreviation, 'p' with crossed descender and crossed tironian note.

Level of Execution:None
Folio rangeFrom to
Scribe description:According to Stones 2010, this is the same scribe who also copied the second part of volume one, possibly scribe A of the Olim Amsterdam volume. This scribe is characterised by double-compartment 'a' with closed upper compartment, more box-like. More pronounced form of tongued 'e'. Lobe of 'g' not closed. Angular 'h'. Hairline on round 'r'. Straight and round 's' in final position. Abbreviations include superscript vowels (particularly characteristic form of superscript 'a' with elongated upper stroke), nasal bar, 'p' with crossed descender, crossed tironian note, apostrophe, 'us'-abbreviation Biting of round 'd' and 'e', 'p' and round 'r', 'o' and round 'r'. The characteristics of the scribe in this part of the second volume differ considerably from the above, notably The lobe of 'g' is closed and the execution of superscript 'a' is different, which may suggest that for the olim Amsterdam-Douce-Manchester set of manuscripts the distribution of scribes is more complicated than the situation of three scribes as presented in Stones 2010. Word-separation marked.