Online Froissart

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, manuscrits français 2641

Godfried Croenen

Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (incomplete), ca. 1410–1415

Contents:

  • fol. 1r–69r: Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (A version), first part ("premier livre"), corresponding to § 0–137 of the S.H.F. edition, rubric: "Cy commencent les croniques que fist maistre Jehan Froissart, qui parlent des nouvelles guerres de France et d’Angleterre, de Bretaigne, d’Escoce et Espaingne, les quelles sont divisees en VIII livres. Prologue", inc. : "Afin que honnourables avenues et nobles aventures", expl. : "en la dicte duchié de Bretaingne et es marches voisines."
  • fol. 69r–127r: Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (A version), second part ("secont livre"), corresponding to § 138–137 of the S.H.F. edition, rubric: " Coment le duc de Bretaigne morut sanz hoir masle. Et comment le conte de Montfort voult estre duc de Bretaigne. Et comment il fu receu a Nantes a duc et a seigneur", inc. : "Assavoir est que quant", expl. : "qu’il y pansast, si comme vous orrez recorder."
  • incomplete, ends in § 697 of the S.H.F. edition , expl. : "et esperons encores."
  • Physical description:

    Parchment of good quality, some small repairs. The manuscript contains 352 folios.1 Pages measure 416 mm by 315 mm. Written space measures 256 mm by 187 mm. Early-modern foliation, probably seventeenth-century, in black ink. Collation: 54 quires, all quaternions, flesh side out: 1–548. Catchwords in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of each quire, written by the scribe. Some quire signatures still visible in quires 4–5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 22–24, 30–32, 34–35, 50–51, but most have been trimmed off by the binder. Secundo folio: "entre les autres".

    Layout:

    Ruled in leadpoint for 2 columns of 45 (44–47) lines. Written below top line. Ruling for running titles. Prickings for the running titles and for the top and bottom horizontal ruling as well as for the vertical ruling visible in the margins.

    Scribal Hands:

    Copied by a single early fifteenth-century hand in cursiva libraria.

    The scribe, who has copied all the text and rubrics, is one of the scribes who collaborated on this manuscript’s twin manuscript, MS fr. 2642, in which he copied the text in quires 4–20 (fol. 17r–153v) and 25–37 (fol. 186r–291v) as well as the rubrics.

    Decoration:

    This manuscripts contains no miniatures but on the opening page space has been left for a frontispiece miniature, which has not been executed. Marginal decoration has been executed on fol. 1r.
  • Illuminated initial, seven lines, with marginal decoration consisting of a gold leaf band and vine leaves, fol. 1r.
  • Beginning of chapters indicated by rubrics and two-line champ initials.
  • Paraphs alternating in blue and red.
  • Binding:

    Seventeenth- or eighteenth-century binding typical of the Royal Library. Paper and parchment endleaves. Cardboard boards covered by red morroco, stamped in the front 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

    History:

    The general style of script and decoration as well as the fact that the manuscript was produced for a courtly patron suggests that the manuscript was produced in Paris.

    The first recorded owner was Guillaume Boisratier, whose ex-libris is found on the final paste-down, which is now hidden under the final fly-leaf which has been partly pasted onto the paste-down: "Les croniques de Jean Froissart etc. des livres G. Boisratier de Bourges".

    Boisratier gave his manuscript to the duke of Berry, his patron, on 8 November 1407. Two owner’s mark in the duke’s hand are found on the recto of the first flyleaf and on fol. 352v: "Ce livre est au duc de Berry". A long calligraphic entry on the verso of the first flyleaf, written by the keeper of the duke’s library, Jean Flamel, gives more information about the presentation to the duke: "Cy est une partie des croniques de France faittes par maistre Jehan Froissart, Haynuier, depuis le temps du roy Charles le Quart des guerres qui furent entre France et Angleterre, lesqueles croniques maistre Guillaume Boisratier, maistre des requestes de l’ostel du roy et son conseillier et conseillier de monseigneur le duc de Berry, son seigneur, donna a mon dit seigneur le duc en son hostel de Neelle, le VIIIe jour de novembre, l’an mil CCCC et VII. J. Flamel.". The manuscript appears in the catalogue of the duke’s library at the castle of Mehun-sur-Yèvre compiled in 1416.

    At the duke’s death the manuscript went to his daughter Marie, who was married to John I, duke of Bourbon and it features in the catalogue of her manuscripts.

    In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries the manuscript was in the collection of the dukes of Bourbon in the castle of Moulins. This is shown by inscriptions which refer to ownership by the duke and duchess of Bourbon. Fol. 352v: "Ce livre est a madame Anne de France, duchesse de Bourbonnois et d’Auvergne", and fol. 353r: "Ce livre est au duc de Bourbonnois et d’Auvergne. Raminagrobis". There are some further inscriptions in Latin on fol. 352v which seem to date from the same period: "Omnia sunt hominum tenui pendencia filo. Et subito casu que valuere ruunt." and "Dominus michi adiutor et ego despiciam inimicos meos."

    In 1523 the manuscript was part of the library of Charles de Bourbon-Montpensier in the castle of Moulins after the confiscation of the goods of the Connétable de Bourbon ordered in 1523 by king François I. It is listed in the catalogue as "Les cronicques d’Angleterre faictes par Froissart, du duc de Berry" (seventeenth-century transcript of the inventory by Peiresc, Carpentras, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 1769, fol. 7v–8r). From Moulins manuscripts were taken to the royal library in Fontainbleau.

    Bibliography

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

    Colette Beaune and Élodie Lequain, ‘Marie de Berry et les livres’, in Livres et lectures de femmes en Europe entre Moyen Âge et Renaissance, ed. by Anne-Marie Legaré (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), pp. 49–65 (here p. 51)

    Léopold Delisle, Le cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque impériale / nationale. Étude sur la formation de ce dépôt comprenant les éléments d’une histoire de la calligraphie, de la miniature, de la reliure, et du commerce des livres à Paris avant l’invention de l’imprimerie, 3 vols (Paris: Imprimerie impériale / Imprimerie nationale, 1868–1881), I, p. 66 and 174, III, p. 190, no. 243

    Léopold Delisle, Recherches sur la librairie de Charles V, 2 vols (Paris: Champion, 1907), II, p. 262*, no. 243

    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)

    Hiver de Beauvoir, La librairie de Jean duc de Berry au Château de Mehun-sur-Yèvre (1416) (Paris: Auguste Aubry, 1860), p. 72–3, nr. 150

    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 (listed on p. XXXIV; in the edition this MS is refered to with the sigil A8)

    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. 199–204)

    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)

    Notes

      1 The final parchment flyleaf is numbered 353.

      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.