Bibliothèque nationale de
This manuscripts contains 6 miniatures, all by the Giac Master. Chapters are
indicated by rubrics, followed by simple two-line pen-flourished initials (red with black pen-flourishings or blue with red pen-flourishings). Initials following miniatures are larger and are
more decorated, including gold leave decoration. Further divisions inside the chapters with two-line pen-flourished initials and simple blue or red paragraph signs. Guide letters for the initials
often still visible.
fol. 1r: four-part miniature two columns wide. Marginal decoration extending
into the intercolumnar space. In the opening miniature the Giac Master depicts the following
- the death of the lord of Lagurant, a Gascon of French
sympathies, slain by Bernard Conrat, captain of Cavaillac for the king of England (1379): the lord
of Lagurant having refused to surrender, Conrat ‘was inflamed with anger, and feared lest he
might lose the greater for the lesser prize; so he brought the dagger he was holding down onto
his adversary’s head, which was completely uncovered, and embedded it in his skull’ (Book II,
ed. Diller-Ainsworth, p. 716, tr. PFA);
- an armed encounter between French
and English troops;
- the duke of Brittany and the count of Flanders rebuking
Pierre de Bournesel from a raised tribune;
- Raymond de Montaut, lord of
Mussidan, swearing fidelity to the king of France upon abandoning the Anglo-Gascon cause
fol. 10v, col. 1: interview between the duke of Anjou with pope Clement VII
at Avignon (1379). Flanked by two cardinals in their red hats, antipope Clement VII, crowned
with the papal tiara (triple crown or diadem), sits on a throne decked with a blue cloth
embroidered with red tassels, an attribute of cardinals. He is receiving duke Louis I of Anjou, the
brother of Charles V of France, dressed in a blue houppelande powdered with gold fleurs-de-lys.
The pope supported Louis’s accession to the throne of Naples in 1382.
fol. 16v: The White Hoods of Ghent (1379). The Giac Master here portrays
a particularly brutal episode which provoked a scandal and rendered the count of Flanders
incandescent with rage: the bloody assassination, on the marketplace at Ghent by the White
Hoods, of Roger of Atrive, the count’s bailli or officer and official representative. The body of
the unfortunate bailli, run through and bleeding from multiple wounds, falls from his horse,
occupying the centre of the composition; blows assail him from either side. The insurgents carry
a bloodied hallbard, mace, spears and wooden club.
fol. 109v: Battle of Bruges (1382). The Battle of Bruges or Field of the
Beaver Hats (‘Beverhoutsveld’) on 3 May 1382 saw the rout of the inhabitants of Bruges and of
the troops of Louis, count of Flanders, at the hands of the White Hoods of Ghent, who pursued
Louis’ men to the gates of Bruges itself. The Giac Master depicts the victors entering the town,
leaving behind them a heap of bloodied corpses in plate armour and kettle hats.
fol. 140r: Battle of Rosebecque (1382). On 27 November 1382, Flemish
militiamen commanded by Philip Van Artevelde were routed by a royal French army. Charles VI
of France had come in person to support his vassal the count of Flanders. Confronting the Flemish
militiamen grouped together in a single block without flanking wings or reserves, the constable
of France, Olivier de Clisson, resorted to the more effective tactic of setting out his troops in three
battalions. When Van Artevelde’s men charged the French, the flanking wings of the French army
closed in upon the rebels... No less than 25,000 Flemings were killed that day, including Van
Artevelde. The Giac Master portrays the Flemings in a strategic position which should have given
them an advantage: high on a hillside, they appear to dominate their adversaries.
fol. 142r: Bruges surrenders to the king of France (1382). In the aftermath of
Rosebecque, Bruges opened its gates to the king of France on 28 November 1382. Charles VI,
wearing his crown over his closed helm and dressed in a surcoat of the royal French arms of
azure, semy of fleurs-de-lys, or (gold heraldic lilies powdering a blue field) is accompanied by a
contingent of armed men whose lowered visors lend them a menacing air. Charles VI receives the
submission of Bruges via the symbolic gesture of the handing over of the city’s keys, presented
to him by the city’s magistrates.