Online Froissart

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, manuscrits français 2640

Godfried Croenen

Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I, ca. 1410–1415


  • fol. 1r–361v: Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (A version), rubric: "Ci commencent les nouvelles croniques de Franceet d’ Angleterre, faites et compilees par honnourable et discrette personne Jehan Froissartad la priere et requeste de monseigneur Robert de Namur, seigneur de Beaufort. Lesqueles commencent au roy Edouart d’Angleterre, lequel fut couronné en royl’an de Grace mil CCC XXVI", inc. : "[A]fin que honnourables avenues et nobles adventures", expl. : "et par toutes les marches sur le clos de Constantin."
  • Physical description:

    Parchment of fair quality, several repairs, with in some quires marked differences in colour of hair and flesh side. A long strip covering most of the outer colum of fol. 298 has been torn off. The manuscript contains 360 folios. 1Pages measure 397 mm by 294 mm. Written space measures 250 mm by 187 mm. Early-modern foliation, probably seventeenth-century, in black ink. One error in foliation ( "247"has not been used). Collation: 46 quires, mostly quaternions, flesh side out, quires numbered at the start and end in the bottom margin with Roman numerals: 1–8 8, 9 6, 10–45 8, 46 4. Catchwords in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of each quire, written by the scribe or by another hand. Quire signatures visible in quires 3–22, 25–30, 3–37. Secundo folio: "ont esté avecques lui".


    Ruled in leadpoint for 2 columns of 39 lines. Written below top line. Ruling for running titles. No prickings visible.

    Scribal Hands:

    Copied by a four early fifteenth-century hands in cursiva libraria.

    Raoul Tainguy, a known scribe, copied the text and rubrics of the first eleven quires as well as the beginning of the next quire (fol. 1r–87r).

    The second scribe started where Tainguy left off. He copied the text in the rest of quire 12 as well as the first rubric (fol. 87v), but from fol. 89r onwards the rubrics were copied by the third hand. The second scribed continued copying the text until the end of quire 27 (fol. 87r–214v). He then resumed copying the text in quire 30 until halfway down the final page of quire 37 (fol. 231r–292v), including an occasional rubric fol. 231r).

    The third scribe copied the rubrics in quires 12–20 (fol. 89r–158r), but most of the rubrics and the red initials in quire 20 were not executed. There is another occasional rubric by this scribe on fol. 166v. He resumed the execution of the rubrics in quire 28 until the end of quire 29 (fol. 215r–230v) when rubrication again halted until the end of quire 37, where he started copying both text and rubrics until the end of the manuscript (fol. 292v–361v).

    A fourth hand copied the text for the quires 28 and 29 (fol. 215r–230v).


    This manuscripts contains no miniatures but has seven spaces left for miniatures, which have not been executed.
  • Chapters indicated by rubrics and by two- or three-line lombard initials in red. Initials and rubrics have not been executed in most of quire 20 (fol. 152r–157r). In quires 21–27 virtually no rubrics were executed but like in quire 20 guides are visible. Guides for the rubrics are copied in small cursive script alongside the bottom margin (often trimmed by the binder). No initials executed in quires 21–46.
  • On one page pen-decoration has been added to a letter on the bottom line (fol. 102v).
  • Paragraphs signs in red in quires 1–20.
  • Binding:

    Seventeenth- or eighteenth-century binding. Paper endleaves. Wooden boards covered by brown gold-stamped leather. and back with the royal arms in gold. Six raised bands, tooled title on the spine between first and second band in gold lettering: "FROISSART" Above this five goldstamps of the royal arms.2


    The general style of script and decoration as well as the fact that the known scribe Raoul Tainguy participated in the production suggests that the manuscript was produced in Paris. There are indications that this manuscript was used as a base manuscript for the production of illustrated copies of Book I. These include instructions ("hist.") that illustrations should be executed, placed in the margins against certain chapters. Most of these instructions correspond to actual miniatures in MS fr. 2675, which is textually also closely related to this manuscript. It is therefore very likely that MS fr. 2675 was directly copied from this manuscript, which then must served as a workshop’s exemplar. On occasion there are more extensive instructions for the illustration, like on fol. 73: "histoires qui tendra II coulumbes [qui coust] et [.....] XVI lignes" (the words in brackets have been struck out).

    M.-H. Tesnière has suggested that this manuscript was produced for a member of the family of Arnaud de Corbie, but there is little specific evidence to support this. As Tesnière has shown, Tainguy produced several manuscripts for Corbie and his family but that does not demonstrate that he worked exclusively for this patron. The fact that this manuscript, unlike MS fr. 6474, which formed part of a set owned by the Corbie family, belongs to an entirely different textual family and must therefore have been copied from another exemplar, tends to suggest that it was produced under different circumstances, most likely for a Parisian libraire, who may have hired Tainguy alongside other scribes to manufacture this copy.

    Later ownership is not clear. There are illegible notes on fol. 1r and fol. 123v, which may be owner’s marks. On fol. 84v, in the bottom margin, there is a note "Monseigneur Huuble" (?), which may also be an former owner’s mark. On fol. 271r, in the bottom margin, there is a note "Jehan Legroing" and that name is repeated in a note on fol. 286r. The same surname appears twice in marginal notes on fol. 308r: "Legroing" and again on fol. 359r: "J. Legroing".

    There are various reader’s notes, including many "nota" signs and pen trials (fol. 14v). On fol. 21v there is the following reader’s note written in the margin next to the passage about Philip of Valois’ accession to the French throne: "[I]lz ne les en osterent onques car la dicte [r]oine ne son filz n’y orent onques droit mais Froissart monstre qu’il favorisoit [l]es Angloiz." A reader’s note on fol. 188r comments on § 410: "Nota que la cronique de France ne dit riens de la mort messire Symon de Bucy, ne il ne fu point tué, mais y ot bien advocat nommé maistre Regnault d’Acy, qui quant il vist venir ces communes, se tomba sur un pasticier, et illec fu tué."


    Bibliothèque nationale. Département des manuscrits. Catalogue des manuscrits français, Tome premier. Ancien fonds (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1868), p. 438

    George T. Diller, Attitudes chevaleresques et réalités politiques chez Froissart. Microlectures du premier livre des Chroniques, Études de philologie et d’histoire, 39 (Geneva: Droz, 1984) (listed p. 167)

    Marie-Pierre Laffitte, ‘Une acquisition de la Bibliothèque du roi au XVIIe siècle: les manuscrits de la famille Hurault’, Bulletin du bibliophile, (2008), 42–98 (here p. 92)

    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 ([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 (listed on p. XXXIV; in the edition this MS is refered to with the sigil A11)

    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. 212–214)

    Marie-Hélène Tesnière, ‘Les manuscrits copiés par Raoul Tainguy: un aspect de la culture des grands officiers royaux au début du XVe siècle’, Romania, 107 (1986), 282–368 (in particular pp. 287, 289, 352–354)

    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. 10)


      1 The last folio is numbered "361", but this is the result of one error in the foliation, where number "247" has been skipped.

      2 The armorial type is illustrated in Denise Bloch and others, Bibliothèque nationale. Catalogue général des manuscrits latins. Tables des tomes III à VI (Nos 2693 à 3775B)(Paris: Bibliothèque nationale, 1981), pl. XXIV, 2.