You are in Introduction. Click here to skip the navigation.
British Library
Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
About Simple search Manuscript search Advanced search  Virtual exhibitions Glossaries Contact us  Main
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back

search tips  Search tips



Detailed record for Additional 12228

Title Guiron le Courtois
Origin Italy, S. (Naples?)
Date Between 1352 and 1362
Language French
Script Gothic
Decoration 363 bas-de-page miniatures, in colours with gold, some on diaper grounds, with some remaining as unfinished outline drawings (e.g., ff. 151v-152). 13 inhabited initials (e. g., f. 112v) and 6 decorated initials (e.g., f. 6v) with partial borders or pen-flourishing in colours with gold. Initials in blue with pen-flourishing in red at minor textural divisions. Spaces left for bas-de-page miniatures (e.g., ff. 169-170).
Dimensions in mm 340 x 235 (245 x 165) in two columns
Official foliation ff. 352 (f. 1 is a paper flyleaf + 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Black leather with gold tooling.
Provenance Louis de Tarente, King of Naples (r. 1352, d. 1362): his arms in background of several miniatures.
T. de Metz, his ex libris in a hand of the 17th century (f. 2).
Chrétien-François de Lamoignon (b. 1644, d. 1709), magistrate and book-collector: in his family library (see note on f. 1).
John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, book collector (b. 1740, d. 1804), his sale, 18 May 1812, lot 6096.
Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges, 1st Baronet (b. 1762, d. 1837), bibliographer and genealogist, purchased by him in the Roxburghe sale for £37.16.
Robert Lang Esq. of Moor Park, Surrey, friend of Sir Walter Scott (b. 1771, d. 1832), purchased by him and bequeathed to his son-in-law, Sir George Henry Freeling (see note on f. 1).
Sir George Henry Freeling, Baronet (b. 1789, d. 1841), commissioner of customs, son of the book collector, Sir Francis Freeling, married to Sir Robert Lang's daughter, Jane (b. 1798/9, d. 1868): his inscription and notes on f. 1; purchased by the British Museum from the family of Sir George Henry Freeling in December 1841 for £200.
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at
Contains the first part of the romance of Guiron le Courtois (also known as Meliadus or Palamedes). It ends with Meliadus' reluctance to support Arthur in his battle against Claudas (Lathuliere, p. 236), breaking off mid-sentence during a speech by the Chevalier sans peur to Meliadus. The attribution to Hélie de Borron in this manuscript (f. 1) is doubtful. The text was composed between 1235 and c.1240.
The miniatures, by several Neapolitan artists with French influence, were produced for Louis of Tarantino, King of Naples (reigned 1352-1362): his portrait, enthroned, on f. 4, with above him the knot, representing the Nodo, an Italian order of knighthood founded by him in 1352 (see Pietro Giannone, translated by James Ogilvie, The civil history of the Kingdom of Naples, 2 vols, (London, 1731), II, p. 89). Meliadus, the hero, bears the arms of Naples (e.g. f. 68). Further armorial devices represented are those of Jerusalem (e.g., f. 68) and France (e.g., f. 157). Some miniatures were added later (e.g. f. 313v).
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, H. L. D. Ward (1883), pp. 364-69.

E. von Furstenau, 'I pittura e miniatura a Napoli nel secolo XIV', L'arte, 8 (1905), 1-17.

Roger Sherman Loomis, Arthurian Legends in Medieval Art (London: Oxford University Press, 1938), pp. 114-15, pls. 305-311.

Roger Lathuillère, Guiron le Courtois: Etude de la tradition manuscrite et analyse critique, Publications Romans et Francaises, 86 (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1966), pp. 47-48, 96-99, 236, n. 3 [contains an edition of the text with variants from this manuscript].

Allessandra Perriccioli Saggese, I romanzi cavallereschi miniati a Napoli (Napoli: Societa editrice napoletana, 1979), pp. 28, 59, 76, pls. L-LVI.

A. G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700-1600 in the Department of Manuscripts, The British Library (London, 1979), I, no. 94.

Bernhard Degenhart and Annegrit Schmitt, Corpus der Italienischen Zeichnungen 1300-1450, part 2 in two volumes (Berlin: Gerb. Mann, 1980), II, pl. 492a.

Lucy Freeman Sandler, Gothic Manuscripts 1285-1385, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles (London and Oxford: Harvey Miller and Oxford University Press, 1986), I, p. 54 n. 41.

Venceslas Bubenicek, ' A propos des textes français copiés en Italie: le cas du roman de Guiron le Courtois', Atti del XXI Congresso Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Romanza, 6 vols (1998), VI, 59-67.

Guiron le Courtois, Une anthologie, ed. by Richard Traschler (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2004), p. 21

Roger Middleton, 'The Manuscripts' in The Arthur of the French, ed. by Glyn S. Burgess and Karen Pratt , Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, 4 vols (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2006), IV, pp. 8-92 (p. 81).

Margaret Scott, Medieval Dress & Fashion (London: British Library, 2007), pl. 61.

Francesca Manzari, 'Un nuova foglio miniato della bottega Orimina, un Graduale smembrato e la figura di un anonimo miniatore napoletano del Trecento', in Storie I Artisti; Storie di Libri (Donzelli, 2008), pp. 293-312, pl. 265.

La légende du roi Arthur, ed. by Thierry Delcourt (Paris: Bibiothèque nationale de France, 2009), pl. on pp. 34-35 [exhibition catalogue].

Nicola Morato, Il ciclo di 'Guiron le Courtois': strutture e testi nella tradizione manoscritta (Florence: Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2010).

Claudio Lagomarsini, 'La tradizione compilativa della Suite Guiron tra Francia e Italia: analisi dei duelli singolari', Medioevo romanzo, 36 (2012), 257-91.

* * *
Kings playing a game

f. 23
Kings playing a game
Tournament with ladies watching

ff. 214v-215
Tournament with ladies watching

print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
top Back