Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 121

[Part 1]

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General information

3 frontend papers
2 backend papers
LanguageLanguage object (3)
Approx. date1470 to 1480
Date notesStones; Wijsman; Hans-Collas, Schandel and Wijsman 2009, 176-177.
Place(s) of productionBruges
BnF, Mandragore; Hans-Collas, Schandel and Wijsman 2009, 176-177. Based on the artist of the frontispiece (Maître de Froissart de Philippe de Commynes)
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] et estoit si fort quil ne doubtoit
First words of last recto folio[f. 308ra] brisa le glaiue si que le troncon
Incipit[f. 1ra] En la marche de / Gaule (et) de la / petite bretaigne / auoit ancienne / ment deux Roys / qui estoient fre(re)s / germains et auoient a femmes / deux seurs germaines .
Explicit[f. 308ra] et lancelot le / fiert si durem(en)t que a la force / de ses bras (et) du troncon , le abat si / couelem(en)t a teore que au cheoix se / brisa la caignole du col , et lance / lot sen va oustre qui plus ne le / regarde (et) si a tant chevaucie que il vint hors de la forest


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Good quality vellum, some stitches (f. 145, f. 215), in excellent condition.



III+1-408, 416

Quire structure:Three flyleafs, followed by 41 quires, which are regular quaternions (f. 1r to f. 302v) , except for the final quire which is a sexternion. The final leafs of the quire function as guardleafs (f. 303r to f. 308r + two flyleafs).
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (5)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:1
General illustration:Frontispiece by the Master of the Froissart of Philippe de Commynes. Lancelot, bearing a white shield, and the Lady of the Lake arrive at Arthur's court. In the background, at the base of a hill, the artist has depicted king Ban of Benoic and his wife. Their son, Lancelot is carried into a lake by Viviane. ( Hans-Collas, Schandel and Wijsman 2009, 176-177.)
General decoration:The manuscript opens with a half-page miniature followed by a large foliate initial (6 lines). The opening page has a full border decorated with acanthus leafs (blue, gold and mauve), ivy and multi-coloured flowers. The text is structured with champ initials (goldleaf, on a background of red and blue, decorated with spiral motifs in white), accompanied by tendrils with gold ivy. Initials with a height of three lines are positioned at the beginning of a chapter; paragraphs are marked by initials of two lines. The initials have been numbered in arabic numerals in the margin (e.g. f. 189rb: 150; f. 195rb: 167; f. 200rb: 170). Line-fillers consist of bars decorated in a similar 'champie' fashion.
Evidence of readership:The sheet of paper covering the pastedown has been cut in two places uncovering the parchment underneath. The upper corner shows 'Bloys'. Slightly lower a cursive hand has written: 'des histoires et liures en francoys pul(pi)to 6to / Entre la premiere et secpmde croyseez / Contre la muraille vers les fosses'. These inscriptions refer to the library of Louis XII of France at Blois. On the first flyleaf in a modern hand: 'Volume de 308 Feuillets / 26 Mai 1887'.
Foliations description:Foliated by a modern hand in arabic numerals in the upper right-hand corner of the recto side of the folio.

Mise en page

Description 1The page has been ruled in red/pink ink for two columns (88-89 mm) of 40 lines. Horizontal throughlines at the top and bottom of the written area; vertical throughlines at both sides of the columns.
Page sampledf. 8r
Page dimensions440x310 (mm)
Justification278x199 (mm)
22mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (1) (RulingMaterials object (1) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (1) (RulingMaterials object (1) )
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (7)
Folio rangeFrom 1ra to 308va
Date1470 to 1480
Scribe description:Single compartment 'a'; looped ascenders on 'h','l','b' and 'k'; bold, pointed 'f' and long 's' extending below the baseline. D is looped. Single-stroke 'r'; use of round 'r' after 'o, 'p' and single-stroke 'r'. Projecting points at the top of 'e'. The descender of 'g' forms one horn protruding above the headline. Descenders curving to the right. Single-stroke x. 3-shaped z. Few abbreviations: nasal mark for combinations with 'm' and 'n', above 'q' used for 'que'; 9 for 'us'; 2-shaped Tironian -et; superscript vowels. Virgula; Punctus.


DescriptionThe manuscript was produced at Bruges for Louis of Gruuthuse to complement a set of two manuscripts (currently BnF, fr. 122 and BnF, fr. 123) which were already in his possession. BnF, fr. 122 was produced at Hainault in 1344; BnF, fr. 123 was produced in England in the final quarter of the thirteenth century. Gruuthuse's coat of arms (f. 1r) has been overpainted with the arms of France. (Wijsman; Hans-Collas, Schandel and Wijsman 2009, 176-177)
Date1470 to 1480
PlacePlace object (145)
OwnershipPerson object (18)
DescriptionProbably after Gruuthuse's death in 1492, the manuscripts entered the library of Louis XII of France, who had Gruuthuse's arms overpainted. (Wijsman; Hans-Collas, Schandel and Wijsman 2009, 176-177)
Date1492 to 1515
PlacePlace object (146)
OwnershipPerson object (19)