Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 754

[Part 1]

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General information

Folio notes:It is apparent that the manuscript is incomplete, since it ends at the last folio of a quire, with a catchword in the lower margin.
LanguageLanguage object (46)
Approx. date1230 to 1250
Date notesThe Lancelot-Graal Project suggests 1230 to 1255. This is supported by the layout and the script. JONAS has 1250 to 1275.
Place(s) of production
The Lancelot-Graal Project has 'Thérouanne or South France?'. The organisation of the historiated initial on f. 1r very much resembles that of fr. 768, which Stones locates in Champagne. Micha (1968, 222) also points towards the textual proximity of fr. 754 and fr. 768. The language of the copy may point towards the east of France.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] pandragon (et) que en sorent ceste noue /
First words of last recto folio[f. 88ra] rir en laprison . mais uolantiers seua(n) /
Incipit[f. 1ra] En la / mar/ che / de / gau / le . (et) / de la / pe / tite / bre / taig / ne / ot / de(us) / rois / enciennement qui estoient frere ger / main (et) auoient afames deux serors / germaines /
Explicit[f. 88vb] (et) q(ua)nt uint aprime si en / ueia ala porte unchevalier por lou couant qui li auoit estez faiz . mais / il ne fu qui losast ourir deuant q(ue) /


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Poor quality vellum, with irregularities, holes and stitches also in the writing space (e.g. f. 30). Generally in fair condition, except for the first and last folios which are worn (front) and stained (end). These are only eleven quires of a copy which once was more complete. The rest of the manuscript has probably been lost.




Quire structure:This manuscript consists of eleven regular quaternions. The catchword in the lower margin of the final leaf of the last quire indicates that the rest of the manuscript has been lost.
Quire marks:MSQuiremarkDisposition object (9)
MSQuiremarkDisposition object (12)
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (10)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:28
General illustration:Pen-decorated, historiated initials (height: 8-10 lines) mark the beginning of a new chapter (often starting with 'Se/Or dit li contes'). Some of these initials are red, others are parti-coloured. Although the wear and tear may obscure this, the style of these rudimentary illustrations, with rather stiff characters, does not seem to be very consistent, which suggests that they are the work of two or more artists. Backgrounds are monochrome or consist of fretwork or a geometrical pattern, in some cases complemented by architectural elements. Instructions for the artist(s) in rubric in the outer margin (f. 73r and f. 79r).
General decoration:The beginning of a new chapter is marked by a historiated initial decorated with pen-flourishing and J-borders (f. 9r). Paragraphs are indicated by red and blue initials with pen-decoration in the contrasting colour (height: 2 lines). An intermediate structural level is suggested by a slightly larger puzzle initial (height: 4 lines, f. 9r). Guide letters in the margin. No use of line-fillers or paragraph marks.
Evidence of readership:In the first part of the manuscript (f. 2r to circa f. 26r), individual words have been underlined in brown ink, marking archaic forms and expressions (e.g. 'ge', 'seuaucha', 'filluel', 'enchauses', 'sa meilleux') On the verso of the second flyleaf a modern hand: has noted 'Cette lecon differ de la plus part des autres 1o dans le recis de enchantemens de Merlin raconte ici comme dans la [..]auili de Merlin, tandis que d[ans] les autre lecons de Lancelot, ce recis ne s'accorde pas avec le roman de merlin. 2o Ce volume conte en la 1re partie ou la conte de la Reine aux Grandes douleurs, jusque a la [...] 18 A partir dela est la chevalerie lancelot'. Folio 1 r, old shelfmarks 'ant. lancelot' '17', 'Codex Lancelotia 1?51?3 and Regius 7173' in the upper margin. f. 8r. right margin, 17th or 18th c. hand: accolade + observer. Covers the following section: 'maist dex / dame uoirement sujs ge lareine as / granz dolors . por cest non que elle / semist est apelez cist contes elco(m)men / cement ; li contes delareine asgranz dolors' f. 10r. right margin, later hand (=f. 8?) has added 'minor'. In the text, 'mendres' has been underlined f. 16v. bottom margin, annotation: cursiva currens, Sans [...] ; bottom right corner : repetition of catchword f. 17rb. episode marked by line in brown ink in the margin: lou fil celuj patrice qui t(ro)p fu preuz (et) uiguereux . (et) fu apelez / essouduns porce que trop estoit / petiz sesnons . com asiboen chas / tel e planteureux . si fu autant a / dire essouduns . come li dux essost .' f. 20 rb. the upper part of the column has been marked with a line in brown ink in the margin (description of Lancelot; Sommer III, 34). f. 21r. cross-shaped drawing in the upper margin. f. 49r. right margin: annotation; illegible (scribble) f. 65r. bottom margin: (cursiva) ?s?ous f. 71r. in the right margin, small cursiva ?d?ies (part of instruction?; black ink)
Foliations description:Two modern foliations in arabic numerals, same hand or at least contemporary, one in pencil, one in ink, both in the top right corner of the recto of the folio. On f. 23 and 24 older foliation in a different hand (arabic numerals, in ink) '28', '29'. Possibly this foliation took into account guardleaves which now are lost.

Mise en page

Description 1Intricate ruling-pattern. Ttwo horizontal throughlines at the top, middle and bottom of the written area. Additional vertical throughlines in the outer margin (at a distance of 40 mm from the justification). Also additonal horizontal throughlines in the upper and lower margin (at a distance of 30 and 37 mm from the justification).
Page sampled39r
LayoutMSLayout object (3)
Page dimensions320x220 (mm)
Justification218x129 (mm)
15mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationOnly used for initials, pen-flourishes and instructions to the artist in the outer margin.
Writing above top line?True
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom 1ra to 88vb
Date1200 to 1250
Scribe description:Textualis rotundus. Two-compartment 'a', the upper lobe of which is open, sometimes with a diacritical dash. Exclusive use of uncial 'd' which at the beginning of the line protrudes into the margin. 'e' with distinctive tongue. 8-shaped 'g' with a relatively large lower lobe extending below the baseline. 'h' with a round bow, descending below the baseline curving upwards. Hairline at the top of the ascender pointing downwards. Use of i-longa in final position, but also in the middle of words. 'i' is marked in those positions where confusion may arise. Use of round 'r' after round letters. Occurrence of capital 'R' in final position. No round 's'; long 's' is used in all positions. Some occurrence of trailing 's' also in the middle of lines, which may point towards Southern influence. The upwards stroke of 't' barely extends above the headstroke. Use of 'v' in numerals. Dotted y. 3-shaped 'z' extending below the baseline. Relatively few abbreviations including superscript vowels (a, i), mainly uncrossed tironian -'et', but also occurs in a crossed version, crossed ascenders (h) and descenders (p), nasal bar for combinations with 'm' and 'n', mirrored 'c' (for 'us', in 'ml't' for 'moult').