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 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
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Detailed record for Harley 4418

Title Jean d'Arras, Roman de Mélusine (imperfect)
Origin France, N. (Amiens)
Date c. 1450
Language French
Script Gothic cursive
Artists Attributed to the Créquy Master (Scot McKendrick, cited in Avril and Reynaud 1993), or related to the Créquy Master, 'in a much more accomplished hand' (see Nash 1999).
Decoration 17 column-wide miniatures with large decorated initials including heraldic arms and three-sided column-wide foliate borders, in colours and gold (ff. 1, 17, 36, 43v, 56, 66v, 80v, 88v, 99, 113, 118v, 140v, 160v, 174, 190, 204v, 214v); 1 miniature probably excised after f. 7. Small initials (1-2 lines), paraphs and line-fillers in gold on red and blue grounds.
Dimensions in mm 330 x 235 (195 x 140) in two columns
Official foliation ff. 251 (+ 5 paper and 1 parchment flyleaves at the beginning and 1 parchment and 4 paper flyleaves at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Gold-tooled brown leather; gilt edges.
Provenance Jean V de Créquy (b. c. 1395, d. 1474), Lord of Fressin and Canaples, knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (1430) and advisor to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy: his arms included in initials (ff. 1, 17, 36, 43v, 56, 66v, 80v, 88v, 99, 113, 118v, 140v, 160v, 174, 190, 204v, 214v).
Philip the Good (b. 1396, d. 1467), duke of Burgundy: included in the inventory of the library of the Dukes of Burgundy composed in 1467-1469 as 'livre en parchemin couvert d'aisselles painturées à manie de draperie d'or, intitulé au dehors Livre de Méluzine; fermoir et esmaillé des armes de monseigneur de Créquy et broches de laiton doréz, historié de hitoires; quemenchant le second feuillet aprés la table: Leur faisoit jurer. Et le dernier: De Dieu et les pugnicions' (see Gil 1998).
The Old Royal Libray (the English royal library) included in the list of books at Richmond Palace, February 1535, no. 122, composed during the reign of Henry VIII (see Carley 2000, H1.122).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d.1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes Medieval quire signatures in the lower right corners.
1 excised leaf after f. 1 replaced by a modern parchment leaf.
The proper order of ff. 205-220 is as follows: 205, 212, 206-211, [lacuna], 219, 213-218, [lacuna], 220.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), II, no. 4418.

François Avril and Nicole Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France 1440-1520 (Paris: Flammarion, 1993), p. 76 [exhibition catalogue].

M. Gil, 'Manuscrits enluminés et mécénat aristocratique dans le nord de la France au xve siècle: La librarie de Jean V de Créquy (vers 1395-1474)' (unpublished Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies thesis, Paris, Sorbonne, 1993), pp. 29-30.

L. Harf-Lancner, 'La serpente et le sanglier: Les manuscrits enluminés des deux roman français de Mélusine', Le Moyen Age, 90 (1995), 67-87.

Susie Nash, Between France and Flanders: Manuscript Illumination in Amiens in the Fifteenth Century (London: British Library, 1999), pp. 241-43, fig. 202.

Pamela Porter, Medieval Warfare in Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2000), p. 40.

Scot McKendrick, Flemish Illuminated Manuscripts 1400-1550 (London: British Library, 2003), fig. 7.

Jean d'Arras, Mélusine ou la noble histoire de Lusignan, roman du XIVe siècle: Nouvelle édition critique d'après le manuscrit de la bibliothèque de l'Arsenal avec les variantes de tous les manuscrits, ed. by Jean-Jacques Vincensini (Paris : Librairie générale française, 2003), pp. 52-56 [edition of the text; manuscript H].

Margaret Scott, Medieval Dress & Fashion (London: British Library, 2007), p. 145, pl. 89.

Joe Flatman, Ships and Shipping in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2009), pl. 99.


Images
* * *
 
Man kneeling before an altar

f. 1
Man kneeling before an altar
Illuminated initials

f. 2v
Illuminated initials
Raymond killing his uncle

f. 17
Raymond killing his uncle
 
Raymond killing his uncle

f. 17
Raymond killing his uncle
Marriage of Melusine and Raymond

f. 36
Marriage of Melusine and Raymond
Marriage of Melusine and Raymond

f. 36
Marriage of Melusine and Raymond
 
Melusine

f. 43v
Melusine
Knights in combat

f. 56
Knights in combat
Knights in combat

f. 56
Knights in combat
 
Battle scene

f. 66v
Battle scene
Naval battle

f. 80v
Naval battle
Naval battle

f. 80v
Naval battle
 
Battle on a bridge

f. 88v
Battle on a bridge
Christians fighting Saracens

f. 99
Christians fighting Saracens
Christians fighting Saracens

f. 99
Christians fighting Saracens
 
Sea battle

f. 113
Sea battle
Assassination

f. 140v
Assassination
Nobles entering a city

f. 160v
Nobles entering a city
 
Castle siege

f. 174
Castle siege
Sea battle

f. 190
Sea battle
Battle

f. 204v
Battle
 
Women and dragons

f. 214v
Women and dragons
Women and dragons

f. 214v
Women and dragons
Women and dragons

f. 214v
Women and dragons
 

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