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← search Les livres du gouvernement des roys et des princes W.144
Manuscript Overview
References
Bindings & Oddities

Abstract

This early fourteenth-century English manuscript is an example of Henri de Gauchy’s French translation of De regimine principum, a text that is an important witness to the flowering of the “mirror for princes” genre at the courts of the Capetian kings of France. Giles of Rome first composed De regimine principum for Philip the Fair of France around 1277, and it was soon translated into several vernacular languages. Henri de Gauchy’s was the most prolifically copied of the French translations, and remains extant in thirty-one copies, six of which are of English origin. W.144 is one of a cluster of illuminated manuscripts of a political nature produced during the last years of the reign of King Edward II and the minority of Edward III, a tumultuous period in English history during which concerns about good government came to the fore. Although the manuscript contains no evidence of ownership prior to 1463, the quality of the illumination in W.144 suggests that this book was originally destined for a king or member of the nobility. The text is divided into three books intended to instruct princes on their ethical, economic, and political responsibilities: the conduct of the individual ruler; the rule of the family and household; and, the governance of the kingdom. Scenes of princes and scholars conversing, as wells as princes instructing their queens and children, are among the ten miniatures and historiated initials. Stylistically, the book is a member of the Queen Mary Psalter group (London, British Library Royal 2 B VII), although aspects of its illumination also relate it to other important groups of manuscripts produced in early fourteenth-century England.

Text Note

Complete; early example of French translation originally made by Henri de Gauchy before 1285

Hand note

Written in semi-formal Gothic bookhand

Decoration Note

Six column miniatures (6-12 lines) and four historiated initials (6-7 lines) at main text divisions; partial borders with fringed leaves, lobed flowers, buds, and foliate stalks; blue and red initials with complementary penwork throughout; illuminated by two miniaturists and a decorator: first artist confined to fols. 2r, 3v, and 10r, style of second artist responsible for remainder (fols. 28v, 35v, 41v, 51v, 63v, 73v, 82r) evidenced by taller figures with smaller heads and patterned grounds instead of gold; overall style representative of the Queen Mary Psalter group (manuscripts relating to the Queen Mary Psalter, London, British Library Royal MS 2 B VII); stylistically comparable manuscripts include Liber legum antiquorum regum (Oxford, Bodleian Library MS 46), as well as the Secretum secretorum (London, British Library Add MS 47680) and De notabilitatibus, sapientiis, et prudentiis regum (Oxford, Christ Church MS 92), two “mirror for princes” treatises made ca. 1325-1327 and intended for the young Edward III that are the central members of the Milemete Group; second artist of W.144 can be related to Hand II in the Queen Mary Apocalypse (London, British Library Royal MS 19 B XV); text in black-brown ink with chapter headings in red; instructions or memory aids for illuminator in the form of marginal pictorial symbols (fols. 28v, 35v, 51v, 63v, 82r), written instructions to illuminator in Latin (fols. 73v and 82r); pictorial and verbal instructions occur only in work of second artist, may suggest that first artist had a role in designing the manuscript

Contributors

Principal cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Principal cataloger: Noel, William

Principal cataloger: Smith, Kathryn

Cataloger: Grollemond, Larisa

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Noel, William

Copy editor: Joyal, Stephanie

Contributor: Bockrath, Diane

Contributor: Emery, Doug

Contributor: Grollemond, Larisa

Contributor: Noel, William

Contributor: Tabritha, Ariel

Contributor: Toth, Michael B.

Conservator: Owen, Linda

Conservator: Quandt, Abigail

Bibliography

Giles, of Rome Archbishop of Bourges. Li livres du gouvernement des rois; a XIIIth century French version of Egidio Colonna's treatise De 'regimine principum, now first published from the Kerr ms. Translated by Samuel Paul Molenaer. London: Macmillan & Co., 1898.


De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935, p. 846, cat. no. 507.


Freeman Sandler, Lucy. Gothic Manuscripts 1285-1385. A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles. Vol. 5. London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1986. I:, pp. 25, 30-32, ills. 174, 176; II:, p. 79.


Briggs, Charles F. Giles of Rome's De Regimine Principum: Reading and Writing Politics at Court and University, c. 1275-1525. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. pp. 33, 39, 40, 56-60, 76, 153, figs. 1 (fol. 2r), 5 (fol. 41v).


These are pages that we pulled aside that disrupted the flow of the manuscript reader. These may be bindings, inserts, bookmarks, and various other oddities.

Upper board outside

Lower board outside

Spine

Fore-edge

Head

Tail

Keywords
Miniature
England
English
Document
Gothic
Historiated initial
14th century
Philosophy
History
13th century

Origin Place

London (?), England

Date

First third of the 14th century CE

Form

book

Binding

Non-original Binding

Binding Description

Brown calf leather with later-blocked John Louis Goldsmid arms over millboard, by Faulkner ca. 1815, rebacked; twentieth-century blue marbled paper pastedowns and brown ribbon

Language

The primary language in this manuscript is French, Old (842-ca.1400).

Provenance

Copied in England, probably London, in the first quarter of the fourteenth century

Owned by monastery, 1463 (cropped inscription on fol. 121r reading: "Liber monasterii sancti gaultheri [?]...16 novembris anno domini millesimo 463 et regis edwardi iiij[ti] viij[vo] pro x l. 10 [?] s." [transcription from Charles Briggs])

Ebenezer Mussel, London

William Bayntum, London, May 30, 1766 sale, no. 90, purchased from Ebenezer Mussel

John Louis Goldsmid, London, June 4, 1787 sale, purchased from William Bayntum

Christie's, London, December 11, 1815 sale, no. 293, purchased from John Louis Goldsmid

Joseph Barrois collection, no. 22

Fourth Earl of Ashburnham, London, 1849, purchased from Joseph Barrois

Sotheby's, June 11, 1901, no. 241, purchased from Lord Ashburnham sale

C. Fairfax Murray, 1901-before 1912, purchased from Sotheby's

L. Rosenthal, 1912

Leon Gruel, Paris, after 1912

Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1931, purchased from Leon Gruel

Acquisition

Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest

← search Les livres du gouvernement des roys et des princes W.144

Origin Place

London (?), England

Date

First third of the 14th century CE

Form

book

Language

The primary language in this manuscript is French, Old (842-ca.1400).

Provenance

Copied in England, probably London, in the first quarter of the fourteenth century

Owned by monastery, 1463 (cropped inscription on fol. 121r reading: "Liber monasterii sancti gaultheri [?]...16 novembris anno domini millesimo 463 et regis edwardi iiij[ti] viij[vo] pro x l. 10 [?] s." [transcription from Charles Briggs])

Ebenezer Mussel, London

William Bayntum, London, May 30, 1766 sale, no. 90, purchased from Ebenezer Mussel

John Louis Goldsmid, London, June 4, 1787 sale, purchased from William Bayntum

Christie's, London, December 11, 1815 sale, no. 293, purchased from John Louis Goldsmid

Joseph Barrois collection, no. 22

Fourth Earl of Ashburnham, London, 1849, purchased from Joseph Barrois

Sotheby's, June 11, 1901, no. 241, purchased from Lord Ashburnham sale

C. Fairfax Murray, 1901-before 1912, purchased from Sotheby's

L. Rosenthal, 1912

Leon Gruel, Paris, after 1912

Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1931, purchased from Leon Gruel

Acquisition

Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest

Manuscript Overview

Abstract

This early fourteenth-century English manuscript is an example of Henri de Gauchy’s French translation of De regimine principum, a text that is an important witness to the flowering of the “mirror for princes” genre at the courts of the Capetian kings of France. Giles of Rome first composed De regimine principum for Philip the Fair of France around 1277, and it was soon translated into several vernacular languages. Henri de Gauchy’s was the most prolifically copied of the French translations, and remains extant in thirty-one copies, six of which are of English origin. W.144 is one of a cluster of illuminated manuscripts of a political nature produced during the last years of the reign of King Edward II and the minority of Edward III, a tumultuous period in English history during which concerns about good government came to the fore. Although the manuscript contains no evidence of ownership prior to 1463, the quality of the illumination in W.144 suggests that this book was originally destined for a king or member of the nobility. The text is divided into three books intended to instruct princes on their ethical, economic, and political responsibilities: the conduct of the individual ruler; the rule of the family and household; and, the governance of the kingdom. Scenes of princes and scholars conversing, as wells as princes instructing their queens and children, are among the ten miniatures and historiated initials. Stylistically, the book is a member of the Queen Mary Psalter group (London, British Library Royal 2 B VII), although aspects of its illumination also relate it to other important groups of manuscripts produced in early fourteenth-century England.

Text Note

Complete; early example of French translation originally made by Henri de Gauchy before 1285

Hand note

Written in semi-formal Gothic bookhand

Decoration Note

Six column miniatures (6-12 lines) and four historiated initials (6-7 lines) at main text divisions; partial borders with fringed leaves, lobed flowers, buds, and foliate stalks; blue and red initials with complementary penwork throughout; illuminated by two miniaturists and a decorator: first artist confined to fols. 2r, 3v, and 10r, style of second artist responsible for remainder (fols. 28v, 35v, 41v, 51v, 63v, 73v, 82r) evidenced by taller figures with smaller heads and patterned grounds instead of gold; overall style representative of the Queen Mary Psalter group (manuscripts relating to the Queen Mary Psalter, London, British Library Royal MS 2 B VII); stylistically comparable manuscripts include Liber legum antiquorum regum (Oxford, Bodleian Library MS 46), as well as the Secretum secretorum (London, British Library Add MS 47680) and De notabilitatibus, sapientiis, et prudentiis regum (Oxford, Christ Church MS 92), two “mirror for princes” treatises made ca. 1325-1327 and intended for the young Edward III that are the central members of the Milemete Group; second artist of W.144 can be related to Hand II in the Queen Mary Apocalypse (London, British Library Royal MS 19 B XV); text in black-brown ink with chapter headings in red; instructions or memory aids for illuminator in the form of marginal pictorial symbols (fols. 28v, 35v, 51v, 63v, 82r), written instructions to illuminator in Latin (fols. 73v and 82r); pictorial and verbal instructions occur only in work of second artist, may suggest that first artist had a role in designing the manuscript

References

Contributors

Principal cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Principal cataloger: Noel, William

Principal cataloger: Smith, Kathryn

Cataloger: Grollemond, Larisa

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Noel, William

Copy editor: Joyal, Stephanie

Contributor: Bockrath, Diane

Contributor: Emery, Doug

Contributor: Grollemond, Larisa

Contributor: Noel, William

Contributor: Tabritha, Ariel

Contributor: Toth, Michael B.

Conservator: Owen, Linda

Conservator: Quandt, Abigail

Bibliography

Giles, of Rome Archbishop of Bourges. Li livres du gouvernement des rois; a XIIIth century French version of Egidio Colonna's treatise De 'regimine principum, now first published from the Kerr ms. Translated by Samuel Paul Molenaer. London: Macmillan & Co., 1898.


De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935, p. 846, cat. no. 507.


Freeman Sandler, Lucy. Gothic Manuscripts 1285-1385. A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles. Vol. 5. London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1986. I:, pp. 25, 30-32, ills. 174, 176; II:, p. 79.


Briggs, Charles F. Giles of Rome's De Regimine Principum: Reading and Writing Politics at Court and University, c. 1275-1525. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. pp. 33, 39, 40, 56-60, 76, 153, figs. 1 (fol. 2r), 5 (fol. 41v).


Bindings & Oddities

These are pages that we pulled aside that disrupted the flow of the manuscript reader. These may be bindings, inserts, bookmarks, and various other oddities.

Upper board outside

Lower board outside

Spine

Fore-edge

Head

Tail

Keywords
Miniature
England
English
Document
Gothic
Historiated initial
14th century
Philosophy
History
13th century
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