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 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
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Detailed record for Egerton 881

Author Guillaume de Lorris and Jean le Meung
Title Roman de la Rose
Origin France, Central? (Paris?)
Date c. 1380
Language French
Script Gothic cursive
Artists Two different hands, artist A (ff. 1-83v, 123-124, 128v-132, 151-167), and artist B (ff. 93v-121, 126, 141v).
Decoration 2 large miniatures, the first accompanied by 2 large decorated initials and a full foliate border, in colours and gold (ff. 1, 121). 3 smaller miniatures, followed by large decorated initials with foliate extensions into the margins, in colours and gold (ff. 123, 151v, 160v). Small column-wide miniatures, in colours and gold (ff. 2v (x2), 3 (x2), 3v, 4, 4v, 5v (x2), 6, 6v, 9, 10, 10v, 11, 11v, 17v, 19v, 20, 21v, 22v, 23v, 24v, 25, 29, 37v, 40, 45, 48v, 52, 62, 63, 64v, 66v, 67v, 71v, 75v, 78, 83v, 93v, 95v, 96v, 101, 113v, 114v, 115v, 116, 119, 124, 126, 128v, 132 (x2), 141v, 151, 163, 165v, 167). 1 large historiated initial with a three-sided foliate border, in colours and gold (f. 129). 1 large and 1 smaller decorated initial with foliate extensions into the margins, in colours and gold (ff. 163v, 170). Small initials in gold on red and blue grounds. Small initials in red with blue or purple pen-flourishing or in blue with red pen-flourishing, with decorated extensions in red and blue; some ending with birds and foliate decoration, partly coloured (e.g. ff. 118v, 167v). Small initials in brown ink with brown foliate pen-flourishing, some including human heads (e.g. ff. 59v, 93). Capital letters at the beginning of the line highlighted in yellow or green.
Dimensions in mm 205 x 140 (140 x 105) in two columns
Official foliation ff. 172 (+ f. 1*; + 1 parchment flyleaf at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Tooled brown leather; rebacked; gilt edges.
Provenance Inscription, 15th century: 'Cest a moy a qui mapartient...' (f. 172v).
Drawing of man and woman, 15th century: inscribed below 'Jehan Lemorgne', and 'Perrine Morgnesse'(?) (f. 172v).
Bought in 1840 by the British Museum, using the Farnborough Fund (£3,000 bequeathed in 1838 by Charles Long, Baron Farnborough (b. 1761, d. 1838), a cousin of Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater (b. 1756, d. 1829), founder of the collection.
Notes The text of the Roman de la rose was begun around 1220, possibly by Guillaume de Lorris and continued by Jean de Meun between 1269-1278. It is around 20,000 octosyllabic lines of French verse narrating the dream of a young lover, in which the long quest he has undertaken ends when he breaches the castle of Jealousy and obtains the rose. The earlier text is around 4,000 lines, and is lyrical and courtly, while the later addition is more didactic, scholarly, and pessimistic.
Rubrics noted in the margins in brown ink, probably by the scribe (e.g. f. 168); many instructions for the painters in the same hand (e.g. ff. 19v, 126, etc.).
Select bibliography List of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1836-1840 (London: British Museum, 1843), 1840, p. 22.

A Guide to the Exhibition of Some Part of the Egerton Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Library, 1929), no. 12.

Fritz Saxl and Hans Meier, Verzeichnis astrologischer und mythologischer illustrierter Handschriften des lateinischen Mittelalters, ed. by Harry Bober, 4 vols (London: Warburg Institute, 1916-66), III: Handschriften in englischen Bibliotheken (1953), p. 135-36.

Michael Camille, The Medieval Art of Love: Objects and Subjects of Desire (London: Laurence King, 1998), p. 148, pl. 134.

Herman Braet, ‘L’instruction, le titulus, la rubrique: Observations sur la nature des éléments péritextuels’, in ’Als Ich Can’: Liber Amicorum in Memory of Professor Dr. Maurits Smeyers, ed. by Bert Cardon and others (Paris: Uitgeverij Peeters, 2002), pp. 203-12 (p. 203).)

Sophie Page, Astrology in Medieval Manuscript (London: British Library, 2002), p. 32.

Pamela Porter, Courty Love in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2003), p. 32.


Images
* * *
 
Dream

f. 1
Dream
Oyseuse

f. 6v
Oyseuse
Narcissus

f. 11
Narcissus
 
Narcissus

f. 11
Narcissus
Lover

f. 11v
Lover
Virginius and Virginia

f. 40
Virginius and Virginia
 
Virginius and Virginia

f. 40
Virginius and Virginia
Nero

f. 64v
Nero
Lover and Diex d'Amours

f. 78
Lover and Diex d'Amours
 
Faus-Semblant and Lover

f. 83v
Faus-Semblant and Lover
Lucrecia

f. 101
Lucrecia
Lucrecia

f. 101
Lucrecia
 
Hunting scene

f. 123
Hunting scene
Hunting scene

f. 123
Hunting scene
Nature

f. 124
Nature
 
Delilah and Samson

f. 128v
Delilah and Samson
Lover and Richesse

f. 132
Lover and Richesse
Vulcan, Venus and Mars.

f. 141v
Vulcan, Venus and Mars.
 
Comradery

f. 163
Comradery
Pygmalion

f. 165v
Pygmalion
Castle in flames

f. 167
Castle in flames
 

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