Chronicles of France


Made in Northern France in around 1487, this richly illuminated manuscript is the third in a set of six enormous volumes containing a French text known as the Chroniques de France (Chronicles of France). This volume covers the period 1108 to 1270, including the reigns of Louis VI (r. 1108–1137) and Philip II (r. 1180–1223), and concluding with the death of St Louis IX (r. 1126–1270).

The six volumes were written by a single scribe, named in an inscription on one of the pages of this manuscript, as Hugues de Lembourg. According to the text, he was a native of Paris, a povre clerc et humble serviteur domestique (poor clerk and humble house servant) to Sir Thomas Thwaytes (d. 1503), Treasurer of Calais and Chancellor of the Exchequer. The six volumes may have been intended as a gift for the Tudor King Henry VII, when he took the throne in 1485. Henry’s coat of arms, featuring the Tudor rose, appears on numerous pages of the book.

The manuscript’s decoration is extensive, including painted borders, historiated initials (enlarged letters containing images) and numerous large illustrations of events recorded in the text. One image, for example, shows the assault of a city and a castle (f. 30v; image no. 1). Another depicts the burning of heretics at the stake (f. 177v; image no. 2).

Full title:
Chronique de France ou de Saint Denis
1487, Nothern France, probably Calais
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Royal MS 20 E III

Full catalogue details

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