Online Froissart

Chicago, Newberry Library, MS Case f.37.2

Godfried Croenen

Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (end) and Book II, followed by a short description of the Liège rebellion against bishop John of Bavaria and a description of the battle of Agincourt, ca. 1430


  • fol. 1r–237v: Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (‘C’ version), chapter 642 of the SHF edition onwards. In this version of the Chronicles the end of Book I and the beginning of Book II have been rewritten and chapters have been reorganised so that there is no distinction at all between Books I and II. At the end of Book II is given the incipit of Book III. The version of the Chronicles contained in this manuscript is unique and not found in other witnesses, 1 rubric: "Chi comenche li capellains de Sainte Anne", inc. : "Quant li dus de Lancastre se fu retrais", expl. : "Ensy tresbuche fortune ses amis et ennemis. Je me suy et cetera. Iohannes Caullier" final rubric: "Orate pro huius partis scriptore"fol. 238r–241v (end of quire) left blank.,
  • fol. 242r–246v: Description of the Liège rebellion against bishop John of Bavaria, , inc. : "Or voel jour parler et traittier de une grande matere", expl. : "Et s’en rala cascuns en sen paÿs et en se plache."
  • fol. 247r–248v: Description of the battle of Agincourt, rubric: "Chi ensieut le bataille de Roussiauville", inc. : "En l’an mil CCCC et XV aprés Paskes", expl. : "Se il n’estoiient bien acompagniés de boines gens d’armes."fol. 249r–249v left blank.,
  • Physical description:

    Paper of good quality. The paper used for this manuscript is entirely uniform, with only one pair of watermarks found in the two volumes (orb with flagged cross, very similar to Briquet 2988, probably another state of that watermark) 250 folios. Pages have been trimmed and now measure 370 mm by 260 mm. Written space 280 mm by 183 mm Modern folio numbers in pencil, with one error in the foliation (unnumbered folio after fol. 188). Collation: 21 quires, mostly sexternions: 1–212, 314, 4–2012, 2110 (9, 10 wanting). Catchwords in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of each quire copied by the first scribe (quires 1–15). It is quite likely that the last quire, although similar in many respects to the rest of the manuscript (copied by the first scribe, same layout, same batch of paper), should instead be considered a separate codicological unit which was only joined to the manuscript when it was rebound in the seventeenth- or eighteenth century. Fol. 241v, which is the outer side of the last quire containing Froissart’s Chronicles, is more darkly coloured than the preceding pages, which may indicate that this page was possibly for some time the outer page of a collection of quires which was unbound or bound with a light limp binding that did not fully protect the manuscript, which would explain the dirt on that page. The text of the Chronicles ends with the incipit of Book III. This probably functioned as a catchword, but since the rest of the quire is left blank the plan was probably to copy Book III in a separate volume. The fact that there is a colophon copied in red ink at the bottom of fol. 237v probably also indicates that this was originally meant as the end of the manuscript. The last quire, which contains the last two texts of the volume as it is currently bound, has no direct link to the Chronicles of Froissart, except that they are historical texts which concern partly the same geographical area (Northern France, Southern Low Countries). Chronologically they do not match up with the Chronicles. Like the first quire of the first volume, they were copied by the first scribe, who used the same paper and layout for this quire as for the rest of his work. Colouration of the paper of the last quire in indicates that it was originally not bound with the rest of the volume and may have been left unbound for some time. Secundo folio (fol. 2r): "se il voloit", and (fol. 243r): "aidier et conforter".


    Blind ruling and leadpoint ruling, 2 columns of 41–61 lines (60–61 ruled lines in quires 1–15 and 21 copied by the first scribe, 41–57 lines with frame ruling in quires 16–20, copied by the second scribe). In the quires copied by the first scribe prickings still visible in the inner margin.

    Scribal Hands:

    Copied by two fifteenth-century hands.

    The first scribe has copied the first 15 quires (fol. 1r–182v) and quire 21 (fol. 242r–248v). He wrote a clear cursiva libraria, with the start of each section in a display script (textualis libraria with larger modulus). He put the guide letters for the lombards in the nearest margin (guide letters in the outer margins have been trimmed) or within the space left for the initial, and copied catchwords in the right-hand side of the bottom margin of the last page of each quire. Initials at the start of sentences and some other initials have been highlighted in red, with the same ink used for the lombard and line fillers. The rubrication was therefore probably done by the scribe, witness the note written in red at the top of fol. 1r and the many occasions when the scribe made corrections by striking out words in red ink. The quires were also probably prepared by the scribe, who used blind ruling with 60–61 lines per column.

    The second scribe, who names himself Johannes Caullier in the colophon (fol. 237v), has copied fol. 183r–237v. He wrote a more angular and slanted cursiva libraria, which at times becomes a cursiva currens (fol. 136r–137v). Guide letters by the second scribe were copied in the space left for the initials. The second scribe did not write catchwords. There is frame ruling only for the quires copied by the second scribe, which has resulted in a large variation of the number of lines in the quires copied by this scribe.


  • Red lombard initials with guide letters, normally two lines tall, but letters with descenders often longer, with larger initials at the start of the text on fol. 1r, fol. 242r and fol. 247r, probably executed by each scribe.
  • Red line fillers executed in pen, probably executed by each scribe.
  • Colour-stroked letters, probably executed by each scribe, using the same red ink as used for the lombards and line fillers.
  • Binding:

    Seventeenth- or eighteenth-century binding. Modern end papers, past-down in the front, flyleaf and past-down in the back. Cardboard boards covered by black leather with simple gilt tooling (double frame). Six raised bands, tooled title on the spine between first and second band in gold lettering: "FROISSAR / TOM. 2". Gilt-edged on all sides.


    This manuscript was produced in Northern France or the Southern Low Countries in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. Like its companion volume it was part of the libraries of Guillaume van Hamme in the seventeenth century, abbé Jean Favier in the eighteenth century and Thomas Johnes in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. It was acquired by the Newberry library from Maggs Brothers in 1938.


    Godfried Croenen, ‘A ‘Refound’ Manuscript of Froissart Revisited: Newberry MS f.37’, French Studies Bulletin, 31 (2010), 56–60

    Léopold Delisle, ‘Note sur un manuscrit perdu des Chroniques de Froissart’, Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes, 33 (1872), 286–88

    George T. Diller, Attitudes chevaleresques et réalités politiques chez Froissart. Microlectures du premier livre des Chroniques, (Geneva: Droz, 1984) (listed p. 166)

    Laetitia Le Guay, Les Princes de Bourgogne lecteurs de Froissart. Les rapports entre le texte et l’image dans les manuscrits enluminés du livre IV des Chroniques, Documents, études et répertoires publiés par l’Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes ([Paris / Turnhout]: CNRS Éditions / Brepols, 1998) (listed p. 153)

    Siméon Luce, ‘Introduction au premier livre des Chroniques de J. Froissart’, in Chroniques de J. Froissart, ed. by Siméon Luce, tome premier: 1307–1340 (depuis l’avènement d’Édouard II jusqu’au siége de Tournay) (Paris: Jules Renouard, 1869), pp. I–CXXXIV (p. XXXIX)

    Gaston Raynaud, ‘Introduction au deuxième livre des Chroniques de J. Froissart’, in Chroniques de J. Froissart, ed. by Gaston Raynaud, tome neuvième: 1377–1380 (Paris: Renouard, 1894), pp. I–XIII (p. VIII)

    Paul Saenger, ‘A lost manuscript of Froissart refound: Newberry Library Manuscript f 37’, Manuscripta, 19 (1975), 15–26

    Paul Saenger, A catalogue of the pre–1500 Western manuscript books at the Newberry Library (Chicago / London: The University of Chicago Press, 1989), pp. 67–68

    Alberto Varvaro, ‘Il libro I delle Chroniques di Jean Froissart. Per una filologia integrata dei testi e delle immagini’, Medioevo Romanzo, 19 (1994), 3–36 (listed p. 9)


      1 See on all this Croenen, ‘A ‘Refound’ Manuscript.