Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Ferrell Roman de la Rose: a Budé, Bourré, and Pérussis Puzzle

After reading the blog post about a manuscript in Liège with the arms of Jean(?) Budé, Dominique Vanwijnsberghe kindly told me about a late 18th-century illuminated leaf, added to a late 14th-century manuscript in the Morgan Library, New York (MS G.32, of which there are images and a description online), which also has the Budé arms half-way down the right border.

Visiting me in London a few weeks later Dominique very kindly gave me a copy of his excellent book, “Moult bons et notables”: L’enluminure tournaisienne à l’époque de Robert Campin (1380–1430) (Leuven, 2007), in which the image below is fig.285.
New York, Morgan Library, MS G.32, fol.1r
Detail of right border
This use of the Budé arms is interesting enough in itself: it suggests that the bookseller or whoever commissioned this fake/replacement for the missing first leaf of the Morgan manuscript had another manuscript with the Budé arms, from which he copied.

Something else was even more interesting. François Avril had told Dominique that the image was copied from another manuscript, sold at auction a few times (including Christie's 23 June 1976, lot 216, and Christie's 25 June 1980, lot 232). I recognised it as a manuscript I had catalogued in the early 1990s for a previous owner (a somewhat revised version of my description later appeared in Bruce Ferrini and Les Enluminures, Important Illuminated Manuscripts (Akron and Paris, 2000), no.20 pp.115–22). It now belongs to Elizabeth J. and James E. Ferrell, who allowed it to be digitized for the Roman de la rose Digital Library, and have placed it on deposit at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles:

There can be no doubt that one is copied from the other:

In the Ferrell manuscript, however, the place occupied in the Morgan manuscript by the Budé arms has different heraldry:

I failed to identify these arms when I first catalogued the manuscript, but in May 1996 the first book I ever bought from Amazon (which had started selling online less than a year earlier) was Lilian M.C. Randall, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery, vol. II, France, 1420-1540 (2 vols, Baltimore 1992), in which the same arms appear in MS W.304 (op.cit., no.150, pp.244–47, fig. 266):

These tinctures reproduced here in black and white are described by Randall:  d'argent à la bande fuselée de gueules et à la bordure de sable chargée de huit besants d'or, and identified as belonging to Jean Bourré (c.1423–1506), eminent statesman, famous bibliophile, associate of Etienne Chevalier, and from 1488, the treasurer to King Charles VIII (on whom see Joseph Vaesen, "Notice biographique sur Jean Bourré ...", Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes, 43 (1882), pp.433–73, available online through Persée, or the brief entry in Wikipedia).

Thus the arms in the border of the Ferrell manuscript are safely identified, but there remains a strange puzzle. In the opening miniature, there is on the rear wall behind the sleeping Lover, a group of three gold fruit, apparently pears, each with a stem and two leaves:

These were apparently mistaken, or re-interpreted, by the 18th-century copyist as  a semé of upside-down fleurs-de-lis embroidered on the bed-hangings:

It seems hard to doubt that the gold fruit are heraldic, however, as they appear in several of the subsequent miniatures, almost always on a dark blue background, including twice on shields:

The arms azur à trois poires tigées et feuillées d'or les queues en haut belonged only to the Pérussis de Barles family according to Renesse:

and Rietstap:

But as can be seen in Renesse, very similar arms were used by a few other families such as the Poirier and Vigouroux, and they may have been used by other branches of the Pérussis / Peruzzi / Peruzzis family. The arms appear c.1480 on the Pérussis Altarpiece at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, for example:
If any readers have any alternate suggestions for the presence of the pears/arms, or a connection between with Pérussis and Bourré families, I would be very glad to hear them.

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting piece, thank you for sharing your discoveries! I am also very glad that I have found your blog, full of original research and information!

    I have a question related to these two leaves from the manuscripts of the Roman de la rose that you presented in your post. It does not relate to the sources, but more about the content of these illuminations, but I hope you can either help me directly or point to the sources of information where I can seen the answer further.

    My question is about the object that hangs in the bedhead of the sleeping man (L'Amans?) Do you happen to know what it is?

    I also noticed that this object is different in two versions of the illumination.

    In the first, earlier one, it resembles an 'icon' of a sort, a painting or a medallion (perhaps depicting Christ or the Lamb of God). I can point to the Annunciation by Jean Hey (c.1490) where we can see a similar object (

    However, in the second, later illumination the shape of this object is already different. It now resembles the 'mirrors' that we often find in similar contexts (I can mention only one example here, also Annunciation scene but by Joos van Cleve (c.1525) where we see such a 'mirror' -

    There are many more examples of those, and as I argue, they were not really the 'mirrors', but also religious, icon-like objects only made with the use of glass.

    I would much appreciate receiving any hints related to these objects. I also found them in various other manuscripts, and can share these examples with you, in case of your interest. But I still struggle to find accurate information about their name, was of making, and of using during that time.

    Thank you very much! (and also using the occasion - Happy New Year!)


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