Online Froissart

Glasgow, University Library, Hunter MS 42

Godfried Croenen

Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I, ca. 1410–1420


  • fol. 1r–6v: table of rubrics, rubric: "In nomine Domini amen. [C]y commence la table des croniques Froissart de la guerre et l’occasion d’icelle qui fut longuement entre le roy de France Phelippe et le roy Edouart d’Engleterre, et plusieurs autrez leurs successeurs.", inc. : "Le premier chappitre contient le prologe.", expl. : "Le XVIIIXX XIXe chapitre parle comment le roy de France envoya messire Jehan de Vienne a Montebourc en Coustentin."
  • fol. 7r–231r: Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (the so-called A version), , inc. : "Afin que honnourables et noblez aventurez faiz d’armez", expl. : "le jour saint Martin le Bouillant l’an mil IIIC LXXIX"
  • Physical description:

    Parchment of good quality. Small holes in fol. 197. Some lower quality sheets of smaller size in quire 26–28, with the edge of the sheet visible on fol. 200, 203, 208, 211, 214 and 223. Worm holes at beginning and end. Some water damage at the top of the pages in the first three quires. On fol. 6v there are traces of a piece of paper or parchment that was formerly pasted over column B (blank), but that is now removed. 231 folios. Pages measure 366 mm by 275 mm. Written space measures 276 mm by 187 mm. Modern folio numbers in pencil. Collation: 29 quires, all quaternions, flesh side out: 1–288, 298 (8 wanting). Catchwords no longer visible, but probably trimmed by the binder. Medieval signatures trimmed by the binder, but they are still visible on some folios in quires 26–28 because those sheets were of smaller size (fol. 203r, 211r, 219r). Later signatures added in the first half of each quire, positioned in the middle of the lower margin, just below the text. Secundo folio: "et destruit le cité de Durem" (table of rubrics, fol. 2r), and: "roy de Behangne" (text, fol. 8r).


    Leadpoint ruling, 2 columns of 48. Written below top line. Ruled lines that frame the text blocks and the ruling for the first line of text extended to the edge of the page. Prickings for the ruling sometimes still visible (as on on the inner folios of quire 12, fol. 90–95).

    Scribal Hands:

    Copied probably by a single early fifteenth-century hand in cursiva libraria, although the variation in the hand may indicate that more than one scribe was at work. While this hand shows some similarities to the writing of the scribe who copied this manuscript’s twin (Toulouse, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 511) as well as two other Froissart manuscripts (New York, Morgan Library, MS M.804; London, British Library, MS Arundel 67, vol. 1, added quires fol. 358r–373v), Hunter 42 is is probably copied by a different scribe.


    24 spaces left for miniatures that have not been executed: a double-column miniature on fol. 7r; and single-column miniatures on fol. 22r, 30r, 45v, 67v, 86r, 88r, 90r, 94r, 97r, 100v, 110r, 116r, 120v, 129v, 144r, 150v, 154r, 164r, 172r, 201r, 207r, 215r, 230v. On fol. 109v, opposite a page with space for a planned miniature, there is a sketch of a man’s head wearing a helmet, executed in light brown ink similar to the ink used for ruling and writing. It is unclear whether this sketch relates to the planned miniature or is a later (but certainly medieval) addition. On fol. 109v, in the right margin next to a space left open for a planned miniature, there are some indistinguishable sketches in brown ink. The planned programme of illustration, as far as the placements of the miniatures is concerned, completely matches the miniatures found in Toulouse MS 511 (except for three, whose matching miniatures have been removed from the Toulouse MS)1. The 379 chapters have rubrics executed in red ink, which are followed by two-line initials, but those have not been executed. Planned initials following the miniatures were larger (four-line) and have also not been executed. Guide letters are always visible, placed in the middle of the space left for the initials. Some rubrics have also not been executed. These are mostly the planned rubrics accompanying the spaces left for miniatures, but include also other planned rubrics on the same folios or on the conjoined leaves (fol. 7r, fol. 8r, 9r, 11r, 22r, 29v, 67v, 86r, 88r, 90r, 91v, 94r, 96v, 152v, 109v, 116r, 117v, 120v, 122v, 123v, 129v, 138r, 144r, 150v, 154r, 164r, 172r, 201r, 215r, 230r; on 82v the rubricator mistakenly copied the incipit of the chapter instead of the rubric).


    Early-modern binding. Cardboard boards covered with white gold-tooled parchment. Modern endpapers. In pen in black ink on the back is written the label: "FROISSART".


    The manuscript was probably produced in Paris by or for a Parisian libraire who was also responsible for two other manuscripts containing Book I or Books I and II of Froissart’s Chronicles: New York, Morgan Library, MS M.804 and Toulouse, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 511.

    There are some medieval reader’s notes in black ink (fol. 7r). On fol. 1r, in the top margin, there is a reader’s note in a seventeenth-century hand: "Johannes Ffroissard vel Frossard natus aut floruit an. 1391."

    In the eighteenth century the manuscript was part of the collection of Edward Rowe Mores, whose collection was auctioned on 6 August 1779. This manuscript was lot 66. It was bought by William Hunter.2


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

    Gustav Haenel, Catalogi librorum manuscriptorum qui in bibliothecis Galliae, Helvetiae, Belgii, Britanniae M., Hispaniae, Lusitaniae asservantur (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1830) (listed col. 791, Press R, Shelf 2, no. 16)

    N. R. Ker, William Hunter as a Collector of Medieval Manuscripts. The First Edwards Lecture on Palaeography Delivered in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow: University of Glasgow Press, [1983])

    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)

    baron Kervyn de Lettenhove, ‘Introduction. Troisième partie: Description des manuscrits’, in Œuvres de Froissart publiées avec les variantes de divers manuscrits, III-III (Bruxelles: Devaux, 1873), pp. 185–461 (here p. 293–3)

    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 (listed on p. XXXV; in the edition this MS is refered to with the sigil A33)

    Paul Meyer, ‘[Glasgow]’, Archives des missions scientifiques et littéraires, 2e série, 4 (1867), 154–55, 165–67 (transcription of three extracts)

    Richard Rouse and Mary Rouse, ‘Some Assembly Required: Rubric Lists and Other Separable Elements in Fourteenth-Century Parisian Book Production’, in “Li premerains vers”: Essays in Honor of Keith Busby, ed. by Catherine M. Jones and Logan E. Whale (Amsterdam — New York: Rodopi, 2011), pp. 405–16 (p. 410, note 8)

    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)

    Susan Wales, ‘Froissart, Book I: Manuscripts and Texts’ (PhD Thesis, Sydney, 1988) (vol. I, p. 182–9, vol. II, p. 2 and p. 37, appendix J)

    John Young and P. Henderson Aitken, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, 1908) (p. 48, no. 42)


      1 S. Wales has discussed the similarities between the planned programme of illustration in this manuscript and the series of miniatures found in Paris, Arsenal, MS 5187, as well as the instructions relating to illustration found in Paris, BnF, ms. fr. 2655 (Wales, ‘Froissart, Book I’, vol. I, p. 182 and vol. II, p. 37, appendix J). She was not aware, however, of the much closer similarities between the Glasgow and Toulouse manuscripts, nor between these two manuscripts and the miniatures found in New York, Morgan Library, MS M.804, or Paris, BnF, ms. fr. 2662.

      2 Ker, who studied the annotated sale’s catalogue of the Mores’ sale, expressed some doubts about the identification of lot 66 as Hunter MS 42. However, as the catalogue gives the precise wording of the opening rubric, which matches perfectly Hunter 42 and is otherwise quite rare in the corpus of surviving mansucripts of Book I, there seems little reason not to accept that Hunter 42 comes from the Mores’ sale. Cfr. Ker, William Hunter, Appendix A, p. 17.