Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, manuscrits français 2655Godfried Croenen
Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Book I (incomplete), ca. 1400
Physical description:Parchment of good quality, some small repairs. In quire 20 several sheets were apparently too small and there are strips of parchment pasted along the bottom edge of all the inner leaves to achieve the desired size (possible during later restauration or rebinding of the manuscript). In quire 21 the sheets are also too small, here along the top of the page, where the edge of the parchment sheet is visible. The manuscript in its current state contains 327 folios. Pages measure 365 mm by 274 mm. Written space measures 244 mm by 169 mm. Early-modern foliation, seventeenth- or eighteenth-century, in black ink. There was probably an earlier foliation that was trimmed off by the binder, but to which fifteenth-century notes on fol. 1r and 324v refer. Collation: currently 42 quires, flesh side out. Before the final quire there are probably two quires missing: 1–208, 216, 226-1 (6 removed), 238, 242, 25–358, 36–3810, 39–418, 422.1 Catchwords in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of each quire, written by the scribe on specially ruled lines. The catchwords are often decorated with small pen-drawings, either representing animals or human faces or decorative plant or abstract motives. Quire signatures visible in quires 3–14, 26–35 and 27–41. Secundo folio: "ne fu oncques si desconfit".
Ruled in leadpoint for 2 columns of 41 lines (written below top line). Prickings for the top line and for the vertical ruling visible in the margins; the other prickings trimmed by the binder.
Scribal Hands:Copied by two early fifteenth-century hands in textualis libraria, with later notes by various cursive hands.
The main scribe has written all the text except for the end of fol. 165v and fol. 166r–171v. The main scribe seems also to have been corrector, strucking out superfluous or incorrect text, often with the comment "‘va—cat" above the deletion in a small hand, and also adding corrections in the margin with references signs. Some errors have been indicated by crosses placed in the margins, but often no correction has been provided. These crosses may have been the work of a later scribes who copied from this manuscript.
A second scribe has copied the Grandes Chroniques de France interpolation on fol. 165v–171v.
Decoration:This manuscripts contains no miniatures but has a space left for a frontispiece miniature on fol. 1r.
Eighteenth-century binding typical of the Royal Library. Paper and parchment endleaves at the front and parchment flyleaf and paste-down at the back. Wooden boards covered by red morroco, stamped in the front and back with the royal arms in gold. Five raised bands, tooled title on the spine between first and second band in gold lettering: "FROISSART". Above the royal arms.2
The general style of script and decorative initials suggests that the manuscript was produced in Paris. At some point it was probably used as a base manuscript by some Parisian libraire or libraires involved in the production of manuscripts of Froissart’s Chronicles. The first part of New York, Morgan, MS M.804 was probably directly copied from this particular manuscript, for which there are various indications. First, both manuscripts share some unique readings that are not found elsewhere in the surviving mansucripts. Further, in MS fr. 2655 one finds the instruction "H", probably written by the scribe of the Morgan MS, next to particular chapters where the Morgan MS nearly always has a miniature.3 Finally the scribe of the Morgan MS has made one marginal correction in this manuscript (fol. 169v).
No information is available about the intended first owner or subsequent owners. In the late fifteenth century the manuscript was owned by Guillaumette of Vergy, lady of Tallemey, Autrey and Champlitte witness owner’s marks added on fol. 1r and 324v.4 There are some erased notes, possibly other owner’s marks, on fol. 1r (bottom margin and fol. 327r. Several marginal readers’ notes have been added. These are late medieval or early modern.
Bibliothèque nationale. Département des manuscrits. Catalogue des manuscrits français, Tome premier. Ancien fonds (Paris: Librairie de Firmin-Didot frères, 1868), p. 439–40
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)
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 A7)
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. 196, note 1, and p. 301–2)
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. 11)
Susan Wales, ‘Froissart, Book I: Manuscripts and Texts’ (PhD Thesis, Sydney, 1988)
1 The last quire is a double leave that originally made up the final flyleaf and paste-down. At some point the inner bifolium of quire 6 (fol. 44–45) was incorrectly bound witness the note on fol. 43v: "Liziéz ou seconde feuillet signé A et puiz retournéz a ce feuillet signé B." This refers to the notes "A", "B" and "C" on fol. 44r, 45r and 46r. Between fol. 319 and 320 there is text missing, about 16 folios, so probably two regular quaternions. These pages were already missing by the late fifteenth century, when the folios were first numbered. A later hand has commented on fol. 319v: "Nota que le caié est perdu et fault ...." (final words unclear).
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, 3a and 3b.
3 These instructions are on fol. 19v (§ 1-42), 31v (§ 1-63), 57v (§ 1-114, M hand), fol. 97r (§ 1-185), fol. 136v (§ 1-270), fol. 139r (§ 1-276, erased?), fol. 139v (§ 1-277), fol. 149v (§ 1-297), fol. 155r (§ 1-305), fol. 163r (§ 1-318), fol. 179v (§ 1-384), fol. 189r (§ 1-402), fol. 195r (§ 1-414), fol. 196r (§ 1-416), fol. 197v (§ 1-420), fol. 210r (§ 1-443), fol. 238r (§ 1-494), fol. 258v (§ 1-537), fol. 259 (§ 1-538), fol. 280v (§ 1-579), fol. 289r (§ 1-597).
4 Fol. 1r (top margin): "Ce romant appartient a dame Guillemecte de Vergey, dame de Taleme, d’Autrey et de Champlite. Et contient trois cent vint quatre feuletz escrips et comptéz par moy F[.....]"; fol. 324v: "Ce romant appartient a dame Guillemecte de Vergey, dame de Taleme, d’Aultrey, de Champlite. Si contient trois cent vint quatre feuletz escriptz, nombréz et comptéz par moy. Feaul m.".