Le Mans, Bibliothèque municipale, 354

[Part 1]

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General information

Folio notes:Folios wanting after ff. 100, 173 and 201. Folios 101-104; 174-179; 202-203 supplied by E. Hucher based on BnF, f. fr. 2455.
LanguageFrench - Northern localisation or influence
Approx. datec. 1280 to 1285
Date notesDate suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project. Stones 2013 suggests c. 1285. Arthurian Fiction has 1275 to 1295.
Place(s) of productionDouai
Place suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project. Confirmed in Stones 2013, 60.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] point . Apres me dist pues tu encor (con) /
First words of last recto folio[f. 207ra] fors (et) ot tel talent de boire que il tour /
Incipit[f. 1ra] Chil ki la haute / ce (et) la segnorie / de si haute es / toire com est / lestoire del gr / aal ont en es / crit par lecon / mandement / del Graal maistre mandent premierem(en)t / salus atous chiaus (et) atoutes celes kj / ont lor creance enla sainte glorieuse tri / nite Chou est el pere (et) el fil (et) el saint es / perit El pere par qui toutes coses su(n)t / establies (et) crees (et) recoiuent (com)menche / ment de vie . El fil par qui tout chil / /
Explicit[f. 207vb] ensamble a fine forche auoec les / toire dou saint graal pour chou / ke branke en est (et) iapiertient . / Et (com)menche me lire robers dee bor / ron le branche en tel maniere . // EXPLICIT // Walterus de kayo scripsit / Istum librum . //

Related MS

In this group of four MSS, the 'Estoire' has been interpolated with excerpts taken from the prose 'Joseph d'Arimathie'.
Similar version of project text(s)Bibliothèque municipale, Le Mans (City in France) - 354
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (City in France) - fonds français 770
Musée Condé, Chantilly (City in France) - 643
National Library of Russia, Saint Petersburg (City in Russia) - fr. F v XV 5


Condition:Good quality vellum, generally in good condition. Stitch in the written space (f. 84). Folios 106r, 124vb ink faded.


Quire structure:
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:verso of the final leaf of the quire, lower right-hand corner

Physical description

No. of illustrations:17
General illustration:The 'Estoire' opens with a large miniature in two registers spanning the width of two columns. Each register is divided in two by a tower. The four images are framed in gothic arches, painted orange with white turrets in the upper register. Backgrounds in goldleaf. The complexion of the characters is pale. Hairdos are curly. Long dress, the folds of which are traced in black ink. The main colours are white, blue, brown, orange and scarlet. The miniature is framed in blue and scarlet bars, decorated with white flourishings and traced in black ink. The corners are goldleaf. The images portray episodes from the prologue (message delivered to the hermit, the hermit following the beast) and Joseph transmitting the Grail to Alain. At the beginning of the text, is a large foliate initial, scarlet on blue and goldleaf grounds, decorated with blue and scarlet tendrils and white flourishings. Decorative border, of blue, orange and scarlet baguettes, decorated with goldleaf droleries (a king's head), and two knights, one of which a hybrid, fighting. Five single-column images (on ff. 30ra, 49va, 49vb, 59ra, 59rb height: 8-12 lines, not eight as in Stones 2013, 214) framed in blue and scarlet bars with white flourishings, inhabited decorative frame (e.g. f. 30r by mounted knight fighting a snail). Preceded by caption in red ink, usually followed by foliate initial (height: 4-5 lines) orange or scarlet on blue or scarlet and gold grounds. Eleven historiated initials blue or scarlet on grounds of goldleaf and the other colours, with white flourishings and decorative, borders at major subdivisions of the text (height: 11-13 lines, ff. 7vb, 21rb, 47rb, 67ra, 88rb, 110ra, 123rb, 126va, 137rb, 151rb, 190v, not eight as in Stones 2013, 214). The borders are inhabited by human figures, animals, hybrids (e.g. f. 7v a male figure with a sword, fighting a hybrid; f. 21r, a female hybrid with headdress and monkey; 67r, a centaur; 151r, an elephant). Historiated initials are often preceded by captions in red ink
General decoration:Decorated champ-like initials (height: 4-10 lines), goldleaf on blue and scarlet grounds, decorated with white flourishings at larger subdivisions. Pen-decorated initials (height: 2 lines), alternatingly blue and red with flourishings in the other colour at paragraphs. Guide letters in the margins.
Evidence of readership:On f. 207vb, in a 17th c. hand 'E non plus' 'Esgreuille', crossed out 'pour la librairie desgreuille'.
Foliations description:Modern foliation in arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the recto.

Mise en page

Description 1Prickings visible in the outer margin. Intricate ruling patter, with additional horizontal throughlines at the top and bottom of the page and vertical throughlines in the outer margin. Horizontal throughlines at the top, middle and bottom of the justification. Vertical througlines at either side of the intercolumn space.
Page sampledf. 9r
Page dimensions298x213 (mm)
Justification198x146 (mm)
13mm between columns
Column ruling present in grey (Plummet )
Line ruling present in grey (Plummet )
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Libraria
ScriptNorthern textualis
Folio rangeFrom f. 1ra to f. 207vb
Datec. 1280 to 1285
Scribe description:Northern textualis with double compartment 'a' with open upper compartment, uncial 'd' with very short ascender, 'e' with tongue, diacritic on 'i' in minim group, 'i'-longa used in final position, put also in mid-word position, descender of 'q' curves to the left, occasionally majuscule 'r' at the end of the line, straight 's' in final position, also trailing 's' in final position, occassionally round 's' at the end of the line, vertical stroke of 't' does not extend above the headstroke, headstroke of 't' extended at the end of the line. 'w' for 'uu', dotted 'y'. Abbreviations include crossed tironian note, superscript vowels, nasal bar, 'com'-abbreviation. Fusion of 'p' and 'o', 'o' and round 'r'. 'st'-ligature. Word-separation not marked. Punctuation: punctus. Litterae elongatae, Especially at the bottom of the page, decorated with leaves, flowers and/or zig-zag pattern.
NotesThe scribe mentions his name in the colophon: Walterus de Kayo. He may also have copied another MS, Paris BnF, f.fr. 14962 ('Image du monde'), dated to 1282 (Stones 1993, 238). The colophon in this MS reads 'Explicit . En lan del incarnation / . m . cc . iiij xx . (et) . ij . lescrit wautiers / d ou kai foi q(ue) jou doi adeu'. Notwithstanding that this MS lacks the characteristic litterae elongatae at the end of the column, the writing is indeed very similar.


DescriptionThe coats of arms and names on the guardleaf at the front of the MS may suggest that it was owned by Jean du Roux and Catherine de Brichanteau. The third name M. de Geresme may suggest that it was a (wedding?) gift of the lord of Geresme, not too far from Sigy and Villeneuve.
Datec. 1498
PlaceÎle-de-France (Region in France)
Ownership, , Jean du Roux and Catherine de Brichanteau (123)
DescriptionThe note on f. 207v 'Pour la librarie d'Esgreville' suggests that the MS was owned by the Esgreville / Aigreville family in the 15th c. The later 16th- or 17th-c. annotations 'Esgreville' and '(e) non plus' are seemingly difficult to reconcile with the Du Roux/De Brichanteau ownership c. 1500. Possibly they should be read in conjunction with the crossed out 15th-c. ownersmark as 'no longer d'Esgreville'?
Datec. 1400 to 1500
PlaceBurgundy (Region in France)
Ownership, , Aigreville / d'Esgreville family (20)