Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 937

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BOCCACCIO, DES CAS DES NOBLES HOMMES ET FEMMES, trans. Laurent de Premierfait
Flanders, 1461-62
ff. 1-359v: [Translator’s first prologue:] Ci commenche le premier prologue du translatteur du livre de Jehan Bocace de certald des cas des nobles hommes et femmes trebuchiez et cheus par le tournoiement de la roe de Fortune, A puisant noble et excellent prince Jehan fils de roy de france duc de Berry et d’auvergne Conte de poitou estampes de Boulongne et d’auvergne, Laurent de premierfait…[f. 6, Translator’s second prologue:] S’enssuit Le second prologue sur le fait, Selon Raison et bonnes meurs l’omme soy exersant en aulcune science speculative…[f. 6v, Author’s prologue:] C’est la translacion du prologue de Jehan bocace ou livre des cas des nobles hommes et femmes Commenchant ou Latin Exquirenti michi et cetera. Et envoie son livre ung sien compere chevalier appelle messire magnard des chevalchans de florence Seneschal de sicile Ainsi comme il appert par une epistle sur ce faicte par ledit bocace. En laquelle Il blasme et Reprent ouvertement et a cause Les princes crestiens, Quant j’enqueroye quel proffit Je peusse faire a la chose publique par le labour de mon estude…[f. 7, Book I, chapter list:] Cy apres s’ensuient les Rubriches des chappitres du premier livre de Jehan boccace des cas des nobles hommes et femmes. Le premier chappitre contient Le Cas de Adam et Eve…[f. 7v, Text:] De Adam et Eve Premier chappitre comencant ou latin Maiorum nostrorum et cetera, Quant Je considere et pense en diverses manieres Les plourables malheurtez de nos predicesseurs…Et s’il advient que vous tresbuchiez en bas, faictes tant que l’en voie que ce n’est pas vostre deffaulte, Mais par la rudesse et crualte de fortune qui tourne toutes choses mondaines. Cy fine Le Livre de Jehan boccace des cas des nobles hommes et femmes. Translatte de latin en francois par Laurent du premierfait clerc du diocese de troyes. Et fut accomplie ceste translacion le xve Jour d’avril M CCCC et IX c’est assavoir le lundy apres pasquez. [Space] Ce present Livre de Jehan boccace est escript de la main de moy haquinet le pesquier clerc et fut acheve et acomplie le quinseyme Jour du mois de may l’an mil CCCC soissante et deux. Pesquier. [ff. 360-361v, ruled, but blank]
Laurent de Premierfait’s second translation of Boccaccio’s De casibus virorum illustrium; modern edition of the first Book only: Laurent de Premierfait’s Des cas des nobles Hommes et Femmes, Book I, translated from Boccaccio, a critical Edition based on Six Manuscripts, by P. M. Gathercole (Chapel Hill 1968). See also C. Bozzolo, Manuscrits des traductions françaises d’oeuvres de Boccace, XVe siècle (Padua 1973) 179-80 regarding this manuscript.
Parchment, ff. ii (modern paper) + 361 + ii (modern paper); 420 × 330 (280 × 210) mm. 1-238 2410 25-338 3412 35-388 394 40-448 458(-8). Catchwords placed horizontally in inner right margins and written in a smaller version of the script of the text; one signature, f. 52, indicates a quire-leaf system formed of letters of the alphabet and roman numerals. 2 columns of 42 lines, ruled in ink, single bounding lines; pricking visible in the outer margins. Written in a bâtarde script. On f. 1 a miniature (117 × 117 mm.) in a gold frame: lower left, the wheel of Fortune; center left, the creation of Eve; upper left, Adam and Eve driven from the Garden of Eden, depicted as a castle; right, Laurent de Premierfait offering his translation to Jean, Duc de Berry. The composition of this miniature is similar to, and the artist the same as that in Glasgow, University Library, Hunterian T.2.18 (60), f. 1, reproduced by A. and J. L. Wilson, A Medieval Mirror: Speculum humanae salvationis 1324-1500 (Berkeley 1984) p. III-7.1 Initials of books, 7- to 4-line, blue on gold and pink ground or pink on gold and blue ground with owner’s arms (see below) and band borders of black ink sprays of gold trefoil leaves, colored flowers, and strawberries; chapter initials, 7- to 2-line, same colors as above, usually with owner’s marks (e.g. ff. 65, 181v; see below) and marginal sprays in the same style as above; initials in the text washed with yellow; chapter lists and headings in red. Ascenders of top line and descenders of bottom line frequently fluorished with strapwork swirls or cadel designs and grotesque faces. The scribe has often included dates or notes: f. 33, a jester with the legend “1460 a<?>”; f. 120v, “Rois” (3 times, Epiphany?); f. 139, “1460 <decorative mark?> Janvier” (i.e. 1461, new style); f. 255v, “Le roy charles mort”; f. 263v, “1460 Le Rou K. Mort” (Charles VII, King of France, died 22 July 1461); f. 279, “m cccc lxi” and a monogram (?); f. 288, “quaresme cccclxi” (i.e., Lent of 1462, new style). Bound, s. XVIIImed, in dark blue French morocco for the Comte d’Argenson with his arms stamped on both covers; on the spine the same arms done with a very small tool, and a morocco lable: Bocace Des Nobles Malheureux; gilt edges and marbled endpapers. Written in 1461-1462, according to the marginal notes and the colophon, f. 359v, by Haquinet le Pesquier. His monogram appears below his name on f. 359v and in the pen flourishes on ff. 247v and 248. The first owner of the manuscript was Jean de Croy, sieur de Chimay (d. 1473), whose coat of arms is in the initials at the beginning of each book; his motto, Souveingne vous, and device, an armoured merman, usually alternate in the chapter initials. On ff. 110v, and 196v, in the pen flourishes at the bottom of the text, the same coat of arms with the quarters reversed, encircled by the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. “Messire Iean de Croy, seigneur de Tour-sur-Marne” was nominated to the Order by Philip the Good; see H. Kervyn de Lettenhove, La Toison d’or (Brussels 1907) 91. Erased inscription f. 359v, “C’est le livre de Jehan boccace en<?>1 est a mo<?>oy comte <?>,” which may be that of Charles de Croy, comte de Chimay until 1486, thereafter prince de Chimay, known to have signed his books in this fashion; see A. Bayot, Martin Le Franc: L’Estrif De Fortune et De Vertu (Paris 1928) 52-56, for a partial list of the manuscripts which belonged to the Croy de Chimay family; for the manuscripts in the 1614 sale of Charles de Croy (1560-1612), see E. van Even, “Notice sur la bibliothèque de Charles de Croy, duc d’Aerschot,” Bulletin du Bibliophile Belge 9 (1852) 380-93 and 436-51; HM 937 does not appear in either list. Belonged to Marc-Pierre de Voyer de Paulmy Comte d’Argenson (1696-1764) whose arms are on the covers; see H. Martin, Catalogue des Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, (Paris 1899) t. VIII “Histoire de la Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal” p. 116, where this manuscript appears on the inventory of the Comte d’Argenson. It was inherited by his son, Marc-René, Marquis de Voyer (1722-82), and sold by him to his cousin, Antoine-René de Voyer d’Argenson, marquis de Paulmy (1722-87) who listed it in his hand-written inventory, Paris, Arsenal, MS 6291, p. 99,2 before selling it to the book dealer Molini, evidently because he already had other finely illuminated copies of this text (“double moins beau que les autres,” possibly in reference to Paris, Arsenal, MS 5193, with 150 miniatures). Belonged to Frederick William Brooke Thellusson, Baron of Rendlesham (1840-1911); his sale, Sotheby’s, 27 February 1899, lot 1829 to Leighton. Owned by Charles Butler (1821-1910); his sale, Sotheby’s, 5 April 1911, lot 183 to Edwards. Acquired by Herschel V. Jones of Minneapolis (1861-1928); his sale, Anderson, New York, 29 January 1919 pt. II, lot 1070C to G. D. Smith. Precise source and date of acquisition by Henry E. Huntington unknown.
Secundo folio: en Raffle la bienheurte
Bibliography: De Ricci, 79.
Notes
1 We thank Prof. James Marrow for this information.
2 We are indebted to M. Jacques Guignard for this information.

Abbreviations
De Ricci
S. De Ricci, with the assistance of W. H. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York 1935-37; index 1940)

C. W. Dutschke with the assistance of R. H. Rouse et al., Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (San Marino, 1989). Copyright 1989.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California.
Electronic version encoded by Sharon K, Goetz, 2003.
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