Description

The Cistercian nunnery of Notre-Dame-la-Royale at Maubuisson in France probably commissioned this collection of tracts at the end of the 13th century. It originally formed one volume with a copy of La Somme le Roi (now Add MS 28162), a moral compendium compiled in 1279 by the Dominican Friar Laurent for King Phillip III of France (r. 1270–128). The manuscript was housed at Notre-Dame-la-Royale until at least 1463, where it was included in an inventory of the Abbey’s books.

This volume contains four treatises, written in Latin and Old French, which are attributed to the poet and theologian Pierre de Blois (d. c. 1211). The first text, called La Traité de la sainte abbaye (Treatise of the Holy Abbey) is preceded by a full-page illustration representing the ideal state of the ‘Sainte-Abbaye’. The upper panel contains a depiction of the celestial church, with God surrounded by angels, the symbols of the Four Evangelists, and portraits of the Virgin Mary and St Peter. The lower panel has a representation of an earthly nunnery, housing a Cistercian abbess, nuns, and novices. Illustrations similarly mark the beginning of the three other treatises in the manuscript.

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