LES ROYS DE LA TRE CRESTIENNE MAISON DE FRANCE, in French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[France, between 1498 and 1514]
210 x 145mm. i + 23 leaves: 1-28, 38(viii as pastedown), COMPLETE, catchwords written along inner vertical ruling on final versos, 24 lines written in a black ink in a lettre bâtarde between two verticals and 25 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 144 x 85mm, rubrics in dusky pink, one- and three-line initials in liquid gold on grounds alternately of dusky pink and blue (slight wear to margins). Contemporary red velvet over pasteboard (lacking four clasps, spine defective, rubbed, extremities worn, slight worming).
1. There are several notes on the pastedowns, including a shelfmark -- Iiii - and 'ce livre apartient a madame' with no indication that a name was ever supplied.
CONTENT AND ILLUMINATION:
Les noms des roys de la tres crestieene maison de France from Pharamon to Loys dorleans, f.1; abbreviated chronicle of the kings of France, opening 'Le roy Pharamond fut preux et vaillant' and closing with the heading only for Louis XII 'fu roy lan mil iiii.c. iiii.xx. xvii, ff.1v-21v.
The brief chronicle sums up the reign of each king, prefaced by a heading giving his descent and dates. Both heading and text are introduced by gold initials, so that there can be four illuminated initials on one page. The book was written during the reign of Louis XII, for whom there is only a heading, with the date when he became king, 1497, 1498 new style, but not the date of his death, which occurred on 1 January 1515. There was a long tradition of royal historiography in France and many different chronicles were in circulation. This attractive volume, with its concise text and clear script may have been intended for a privileged and fortunate child.