Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Duke de Berry's 1413-1416 Inventories

The Duke de Berry's Inventories published by Guiffrey in the late 19th century are now available online.

It is a long time since I have looked at them, but looking again at the 1413-16 inventory (maybe I will look at the 1401-03 one in another post), a few things in particular strike me.



One is that in the descriptions of books of hours, the inventories explicitly provide the secundo folio of the Hours of the Virgin, even if it is not the first text in the volume, rather than what one might have expected: the secundo folio of the volume as a whole, or of the first text after the calendar.

A second is the terminology used in the description of script, here arranged roughly from most frequent to least frequent:
  • "lettre de fourme" (nos. 853, 873, 889, 896, 912, 916, 918, 920, 921, 930, 934, 938, 940, 946-7, 950, 953, 956-7, 966, 969, 971, 976-8, 981-4, 993, 995-6, 998-9, 1000-1, 1003, 1243-4)
    • "grosse lettre de fourme" (nos. 931, 1238, 1245, 1249)
      • "bien grosse lettre de fourme" (no. 974)
    • "menue lettre de fourme" (no. 973, 1241-2)
    • "bonne lettre de fourme" (nos. 992, 1005-6, 1240, 1247-8)
      • "bonne lettre de fourme paraille" (no. 972) 
      • "très bonne lettre de fourme" (nos. 1246)
    • "vieille lettre de fourme" (no. 929)
  • "lettre de court" (nos. 859, 862, 870, 884-6, 888, 890-1, 895, 903, 911, 913, 915, 917, 919, 932-3, 936-7, 939, 942, 948-9, 951-2, 954-5, 959, 964, 967, 970, 985, 1004, 1239)
  • "lettre courante" (no. 922-5, 928, 944, 979-80)
  • "lettre boulonnoise" (nos. 855, 867, 945, 958, 965)
  • "lettre roonde" (no. 926-7, 991)
  • "grosse lettre" (no. 892) 
    • "très gros lettre" (no. 874)
  • "lettre gascoigne" (no. 892) 
  • "lettre françoise" (no. 854)
  • "escrips en espaignol" (no. 909) probably refers to the language, but indirectly provides an impression of the script
A third is that the inventory was often aware of the differing liturgical Uses of the MSS:
  • "a l'usaige des  Prescheurs" (no. 850: The Petites Heures)
  • "a l'usaige des Jacobins" (no. 963: The  Belleville Breviary)
  • "a l'usaige de Paris" (nos. 971, 992, 998, 1001, 1240-1)
And a fourth is that the Très Riches Heures is not the only manuscript described as in quires (unbound):
  • [903] "Item plusieurs quaiers de parchemin, non reliez, escrips de lettre de court, de L'Istoire de Troye"
  • [904] "Item plusieurs quaiers de parchemin, non reliez, de la Vie et translacion de saint Gildas et du Saint calice de la cène"

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for this blog. I have a question. In your opinion, what does it mean "lettre de fourme"? It means that that we call "gothic"? And so, "lettre de court" means "littera bastarda", or "gothic bastarda", isn't it?

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