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A Royal Crusade History: The Livre d'Eracles and Edward IV's Exile in Burgundy

Erin K. Donovan (notes)

Abstract

The English King Edward IV (1442-83) had multiple political, familial, and cultural connections with the Flanders-based court of Burgundy headed by Duke Charles the Bold, including Edward's sister Margaret of York's marriage to Charles, Edward's induction into the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece, and his five-month exile in Burgundy when the Earl of Warwick placed the former King Henry VI back on the English throne. British Library, Royal MS. 15 E. I, known as the Livre d'Eracles, a French translation and continuation of William of Tyre's crusade history Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum, is a beautiful example of Edward IV's patronage of Flemish manuscript illumination. The manuscript was tailored to the king's royal interests and yet also showed some resonance with similar manuscripts made for the Burgundian noblemen with whom he interacted. The visual narrative in Royal MS. 15 E. I emphasizes humble and wise leadership, even particularly English leadership, for the gaze of its royal owner.

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