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Detailed record for Royal 20 B XX

Title Historia de proelis in a French translation (Le Livre et le vraye hystoire du bon roy Alixandre)
Origin France, Central (Paris)
Date c. 1420
Language French
Script Gothic cursive
Artists Attributed to the Master of the Royal Alexander
Decoration 86 two or one-column miniatures in colours and gold, with partial borders, at the beginning of each chapter, some with traces of preliminary sketches for illuminators (e.g., ff. 83, 86, 92). Foliate initials in colours and gold with extensions. Small initials in gold on blue and rose grounds with penwork decoration in white, and line-fillers in blue, rose and gold with penwork decoration in white in the list of contents section (ff. 1-2v).
Dimensions in mm 284 x 195 (200 x 125, in two columns)
Official foliation ff. i + 97 (+ 2 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end; f. i is a medieval parchment flyleaf)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Royal library binding of brown leather with the royal arms and a date of 1757.
Provenance Added sketch in Indian ink of two horses and fighting knights, 15th century (f. 53v).
Henry VIII (b. 1491, d. 1547), king of England and Ireland: the monogram 'HR' [for Henricus Rex] (f. i).
?Shelfmark of a very large number in brown ink (Carley's 'Old Large Number') '73' (f. i).
The Old Royal Library (the English Royal Library): Westminster inventory number 'no. 475' (f. i), included in the inventory of books in the Upper Library at Westminster of 1542; and perhaps in the catalogue of 1666, Royal Appendix 71, f. 11.
Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.
Notes Illuminated by the Master of the Royal Alexander (formerly confused with the Harvard Hannibal Master, see Backhouse 2004), active in Paris and Normandy (Rouen?); other manuscripts illuminated by him include a Book of Hours of Rouen use (Baltimore, Walter Art Gallery W. 259), and a Book of Hours of Sarum use (Sloane 2468) perhaps made in Rouen for the English market (see Reynolds 1994).
The text in Old French, the Vraye histoire du bon roy Alexandre is passed on the Historia Alexandri Magni de preliis, written in the 10th century by the Neopolitan archpriest Leo.
Select bibliography H. L. D. Ward and J. A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), I, p. 128.

H. Omont, 'Les manuscrits français des rois d'Angleterre au château de Richmond', in Etudes romanes dédiés à Gaston Paris (Paris: É. Bouillon, 1891), pp. 1-13 (p. 11).

George F. Warner and Julius P. Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King’s Collections, 4 vols (London: British Museum, 1921), II (2), pp. 369-70.

D. J. A. Ross, 'Olympias and the Serpent: The Interpretation of a Baalbek Mosaic and the Date of the Illustrated Pseudo-Callisthenes', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 26 (1963) 1-21 (p. 15, fig. 5d).

Loren MacKinney, Medical Illustrations in Medieval Manuscripts, Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 5, 2 parts bound together (London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1965), with Thomas Herndon, Part II, Medical Miniatures in Extant Manuscripts: A Checklist, no. 67.

D. J. A. Ross, Alexander and the Faithless Lady: A Submarine Adventure, An Inaugural lecture delivered at Birkbeck College, London, 7th November 1967 (London: Ruddock and Sons, 1967), pp. 8, 15, fig. 3.

Millard Meiss, French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Late XIV Century and the Patronage of the Duke, 2 vols, National Gallery of Art Kress Foundation Studies in the History of European Art, 2 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1967), I, p. 391, etc.

John E. Murdoch, Album of Science: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. by I. B. Cohen (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1984), no. 163.

David J. A. Ross, Studies in the Alexander Romance (London: Pindar, 1985), pp. 173, 181, 259, 353, 364, 386-87, 395, 398.

Catherine Reynolds, 'English Patrons and French Artists in Fifteenth Century Normandy', in England and Normandy in the Middle Ages, ed. by D. Bates and A. Curry (London: Hambledon Press, 1994), pp. 299-313 (p. 304).

Janet Backhouse, 'Illuminated Manuscripts Associated with Henry VII and Members of his Immediate Family', in The Reign of Henry VII: Proceedings of the 1993 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by Benjamin Thompson (Stamford: Paul Watkins, 1995), pp. 175-87 (p. 180, n. 19).

V. M. Schmidt, A Legend and its Image: The Aerial Flight of Alexander the Great in Medieval Art (Groningen, 1995), cat. no. 46, pp.185-86 [exhibition catalogue].

Scot McKendrick, The History of Alexander the Great: An Illuminated Manuscript of Vasco da Lucena's French Translation of the Ancient Text by Quintus Curtius Rufus (Los Angeles, 1996), fig.1.

The Mythical Quest: In Search of Adventure, Romance and Enlightenment, intro. by Penelope Lively (London: British Library, 1996), pl. on p. 40.

J. P. Carley, 'Marks in Books and the Libraries of Henry VIII', Papers-Bibliographical Society of America, 91 (1997), 583-606 (pp. 604, 606).

C. W. Dutschke, 'The Truth in the Book: The Marco Polo Texts in Royal 19.D.I and Bodley 264', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des études relatives aux manuscrits, 52 (1998) 278-99 (p. 298).

The Image of Time: European Manuscript Books (Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2000), no. 62 [exhibition catalogue].

The Libraries of King Henry VIII, ed. by J. P. Carley, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, 7 (London: The British Library, 2000), H2.298.

D. J. A. Ross and M. A. Stones, 'The Roman d’Alexandre in French Prose: Another Illustrated Manuscript from Champagne or Flanders c. 1300', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des études relatives aux manuscrits, 56 (2002), 345-56 (p. 346).

Sophie Page, Magic in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2004), pp. 1 (half-title page), 11-14, 64, pl. 8-9.

Elizabeth Morrison, Beasts: Factual & Fantastic (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), pp. 78-79.

Margaret Scott, Medieval Dress & Fashion (London: British Library, 2007), pl. 83.

Maud Pérez-Simon, Mise en roman, mise en image: Les manuscrits du Roman d'Alexandre en prose (Paris: Champion, 2011), pp. 264, 268, 375.

Scot McKendrick, John Lowden and Kathleen Doyle, Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (London: British Library, 2011), no. 75 [exhibition catalogue].


Images
* * *
 
Student reading

f. 1
Student reading
Astronomy and geometry

f. 3
Astronomy and geometry
Nectanebus

f. 4
Nectanebus
 
Nectanebus

f. 4v
Nectanebus
Olympias enthroned

f. 7
Olympias enthroned
Nectanebus

f. 8v
Nectanebus
 
Nectanebus

f. 8v
Nectanebus
Philip

f. 9v
Philip
Aristotle and Alexander

f. 10v
Aristotle and Alexander
 
Aristotle and Alexander

f. 10v
Aristotle and Alexander
Aristotle and Alexander

f. 10v
Aristotle and Alexander
Nectanebus

f. 11
Nectanebus
 
Alexander, Aristotle and Bucephalus

f. 12
Alexander, Aristotle and Bucephalus
Alexander, Aristotle and Bucephalus

f. 12
Alexander, Aristotle and Bucephalus
Victory of Alexander

f. 13v
Victory of Alexander
 
Alexander crowned

f. 14
Alexander crowned
Philip

f. 15
Philip
Defeat of Philip

f. 16v
Defeat of Philip
 
Alexander defeating Pausanias

f. 18
Alexander defeating Pausanias
Alexander enthroned

f. 18v
Alexander enthroned
Alexander and his army

f. 19v
Alexander and his army
 
Alexander and his fleet

f. 20
Alexander and his fleet
Alexander and his fleet

f. 20
Alexander and his fleet
Building of Alexandria

f. 21
Building of Alexandria
 
Destruction of Tyre

f. 22
Destruction of Tyre
Alexander at the Temple

f. 23
Alexander at the Temple
Alexander

f. 24
Alexander
 
Alexander

f. 26v
Alexander
Alexander and Olympias

f. 27
Alexander and Olympias
Alexander

f. 29v
Alexander
 
Battle with the Persians

f. 30v
Battle with the Persians
Battle with the Persians

f. 33
Battle with the Persians
Surrender of a city

f. 34
Surrender of a city
 
Alexander's army

f. 36v
Alexander's army
Murder of Darius

f. 38
Murder of Darius
Burial of Darius

f. 38v
Burial of Darius
 
Murderers of Darius

f. 39v
Murderers of Darius
Alexander

f. 40v
Alexander
Albanians

f. 41v
Albanians
 
Battle of Alexander and Porrus

f. 44v
Battle of Alexander and Porrus
Alexander and the Amazons

f. 47v
Alexander and the Amazons
Alexander and the Amazons

f. 47v
Alexander and the Amazons
 
Battle with dragons

f. 49v
Battle with dragons
Battle with dragons

f. 49v
Battle with dragons
Alexander

f. 50
Alexander
 
Alexander

f. 50
Alexander
Battle with white lions

f. 50v
Battle with white lions
Battle with boars and savages

f. 51
Battle with boars and savages
 
Battle with boars and savages

f. 51
Battle with boars and savages
Battle with a three-horned beast

f. 51v
Battle with a three-horned beast
Alexander and Porrus

f. 53
Alexander and Porrus
 
Alexander and Porrus

f. 53
Alexander and Porrus
Warriors and horses

f. 53v
Warriors and horses
Alexander and Porrus

f. 54
Alexander and Porrus
 
Burial of Porrus

f. 54v
Burial of Porrus
Alexander

f. 55v
Alexander
Battle with a hippopotamus

f. 56
Battle with a hippopotamus
 
Alexander

f. 57
Alexander
Alexander

f. 58
Alexander
Alexander

f. 58v
Alexander
 
Alexander

f. 60
Alexander
Alexander

f. 62v
Alexander
Battle with giants

f. 63
Battle with giants
 
Alexander and the wild man

f. 64
Alexander and the wild man
Alexander

f. 65
Alexander
Alexander

f. 66
Alexander
 
Alexander

f. 66
Alexander
Capture of Candaculus' wife

f. 67v
Capture of Candaculus' wife
Restoration of Candaculus' wife

f. 68v
Restoration of Candaculus' wife
 
Candace and Alexander

f. 70
Candace and Alexander
Candace and Alexander

f. 71v
Candace and Alexander
Candace and Alexander

f. 71v
Candace and Alexander
 
Battle against dragons

f. 73
Battle against dragons
Battle against wild bulls

f. 73v
Battle against wild bulls
Ambria

f. 75v
Ambria
 
Alexander being carried by griffins

f. 76v
Alexander being carried by griffins
Alexander being carried by griffins

f. 76v
Alexander being carried by griffins
Alexander lowered into the sea

f. 77v
Alexander lowered into the sea
 
Alexander lowered into the sea

f. 77v
Alexander lowered into the sea
Battle with sword-horned men

f. 78
Battle with sword-horned men
Battle with sheep-horned dragons

f. 78v
Battle with sheep-horned dragons
 
Battle with horse-headed men

f. 79
Battle with horse-headed men
Battle with one-eyed giants (cyclops)

f. 79v
Battle with one-eyed giants (cyclops)
Battle with blemmyae

f. 80
Battle with blemmyae
 
Battle with lion-like beasts

f. 80v
Battle with lion-like beasts
Burial of Bucephalus

f. 81
Burial of Bucephalus
Burial of Bucephalus

f. 81
Burial of Bucephalus
 
Memorial to Bucephalus

f. 82
Memorial to Bucephalus
Alexander and elephants

f. 82v
Alexander and elephants
Alexander and elephants

f. 82v
Alexander and elephants
 
Alexander and caladrius birds

f. 83
Alexander and caladrius birds
Battle with two-headed dragons

f. 83v
Battle with two-headed dragons
Entry of Alexander

f. 84
Entry of Alexander
 
Alexander sending letters

f. 85
Alexander sending letters
Aristotle sending a letter

f. 85v
Aristotle sending a letter
Birth of a monstrous child

f. 86v
Birth of a monstrous child
 
Jobas poisoning Alexander

f. 88v
Jobas poisoning Alexander
Jobas poisoning Alexander

f. 88v
Jobas poisoning Alexander
Alexander

f. 89
Alexander
 
Funeral of Alexander

f. 92
Funeral of Alexander
Burning of a city

f. 94v
Burning of a city
Capture of Pydna

f. 97
Capture of Pydna
 

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