TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Manuscripts in the Curriculum

Program Description

For anyone studying the Middle Ages, there is no substitute for hands-on experience of actual medieval manuscripts.  Our way of making this happen is a unique and innovative program, “Manuscripts in the Curriculum,” which lends colleges, universities, and other educational institutions in North America a group of manuscripts during a segment of the academic year (semester, quarter, or summer session).  Although public display of the manuscripts is encouraged, central to the philosophy of the new program is the integration of real manuscripts into the curriculum in courses where students can work closely with original material under the guidance of a professor. 

“Manuscripts in the Curriculum,” a pilot program, began January 2017; it will conclude with the Fall semester of 2019.  For a glimpse of some of the programming at participating institutions, see below “The Program in Action.” The nominal fee contributed towards the out-of-pocket expenses of the program, and covered insurance, shipping, exhibition materials (archival cradles), labels, study guides, and one-time participation of one of our specialists. One of the international specialists of Les Enluminures visited each campus during the loan period to deliver either a public lecture or an in-depth seminar.  Following the visit, we offered a brief analysis of the collection, identifying its strengths and suggesting strategies for collection building tailored to the program’s needs. The original manuscripts were accompanied by study guides and full descriptions to be used at the discretion of the professor(s). 

Manuscripts in the Curriculum II

This pilot program has been such a success that we have decided to continue it in a slightly revised form as “Manuscripts in the Curriculum II,” which will begin in September 2019 and run through Summer 2022.  A smaller group of nine manuscripts will be available for loan, including seven representative examples of types of medieval books, and two “wild-cards,” chosen by the participating institution (a sample list of manuscript is available on the pdf below).

There is a nominal cost ($5,000) for North American institutions to contribute towards the out-of-pocket expenses of the program (with an additional fee for participating Canadian institutions for international shipping and customs).  The fee covers administration, insurance, shipping, condition reports, and study guides.  It is our hope that this program will encourage participating institutions to discover and implement ways that manuscripts can continue to be used creatively in their curricula.

For further information, please contact: lauralight@lesenluminures.com











In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Southern Germany (diocese of Constance or Augsburg), c. 1240-60

Almost certainly copied for lay use, this German illuminated Psalter includes historiated initials depicting both Saint Francis and Saint Dominic, canonized only decades before the manuscript was produced.  Artistically, it is related to important illuminated south German Psalters now in Liverpool and Schaffhausen.  It is still bound in an early binding (with some restoration), and there are numerous signs of use throughout, including evidence that it was used to teach children to read.  Unusual and intriguing damage to the initials of Francis and Dominic warrants closer attention

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TM 789
at curatorial service

Vulgate Bible

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
England, c. 1260-1275
10 illuminated foliate initials

Small portable Bibles containing the complete Old and New Testaments were one of the greatest achievements of thirteenth-century book production.   This English example was copied by numerous scribes, and decorated in a number of styles. The ten handsome illuminated initials decorate the Minor Prophets, an unusual choice.  Textual evidence links it to both the Dominicans and Franciscans.  Notable here are the numerous additions that show how this was used, including the contemporary table of introits and Mass lections, and numerous marginal notes from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries.  

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TM 892
at curatorial service

Breviary for the Night Office in Two Volumes (Use of Utrecht)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
The Netherlands (South Holland), c. 1450-1475

Ideal for display and teaching, the accomplished script, elegant penwork initials, original stamped bindings, and parchment tabs marking key sections are notable features of these two volumes.  Distinctive decoration and liturgical Use firmly place these volumes in mid-fifteenth-century South Holland.  A beautiful example of Dutch book-making, this Breviary was exhibited at the Royal Library in the Netherlands in 1993.

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TM 940
at curatorial service

ANTONIUS VERCELLENSIS (DA VERCELLI), Quadragesimale de Aeternis Fructibus Spiritus Sancti [Sermons 41 to 61] [Quadrgesimal Sermons, i.e. Sermons for Lent]

In Latin with a few notes in Italian, decorated manuscript on parchment and paper
Northern Italy, Milan (?), c. 1460-1475

Amply annotated by contemporary hands and transcribed during the author’s lifetime, this collection of Quadragesimal sermons (24 of the 61 known sermons) is by the understudied Italian preacher Antonius da Vercelli (d. 1483) of the Observant Franciscan movement. His sermons boast a strong didactic and catechetical character; they are enhanced by a plethora of exempla as well as plentiful quotes from scriptural, patristic, and lay authors. Known in only three manuscripts, only one of them complete, and unpublished, the collection merits a critical

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TM 683
at curatorial service

Juvenal, Satyrae (Satires); with introductory verses to satires II, IV-VIII by GUARINO DA VERONA

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Northern Italy, c. 1460-1480

One of the most popular classical texts of all time, Juvenal’s Satires seldom appears on the market (only our copy is recorded in the Schoenberg Database since 1998).  Satirizing all aspects of everyday Roman life in elegant Latin, Juvenal’s text was particularly popular during the Renaissance, when it was used extensively in the schools.  Distinguishing our manuscript, preserved in its original binding, are verse introductions by humanist schoolteacher Guarino da Verona “the greatest master of the century,” along with much evidence of use by students.

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TM 942
at curatorial service

BARTHOLOMAEUS DE CHAIMIS, Confessionale (Confessional); with ANTONINUS FLORENTINUS, Confessionale (Confessional, selections) and De matrimonio (On Marriage); POPE MARTIN V, Ad evitanda scandala (On Avoiding Scandal); LEONARDO GIUSTINIAN and JACOPONE DA TODI, vernacular devotional poems; and other texts

In Latin and Italian, manuscript on parchment
Northern Italy (very likely Milan), February 14, 1468

Although tiny and compact like many miscellanies used by the mendicant friars, this manuscript was an expensive production.  It is copied in a formal script by well-trained scribes and includes an illuminated frontispiece at the beginning of the main text, the Confessionale of Bartholomaeus de Chaimis, an influential but rare text that still lacks a scholarly edition.  Dated by the scribe, this is perhaps the oldest surviving copy and may have been produced under the direct supervision of the author.

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TM 976
at curatorial service

Office of the Dead (Use of St. Kunibert, Cologne); Prayers before celebrating Mass; Funeral service; Necrologium (added) 

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Germany, Cologne, 1487 and 1727 (with later additions)

Large in format, this carefully written and decorated liturgical manuscript from the important church of St. Kunibert in Cologne was used daily by the Canons for the liturgy associated with death and burial. Dated and with a known donor, it is preserved in an elaborate sixteenth-century binding. It also includes an eighteenth-century necrology with names, dates, and burial location, making this an important document both as a record of people associated with the community and for the physical organization of the Church and its altars.

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TM 644
at curatorial service

JEAN BODIN, C'est la declarac[i]on des choses heritaulx (Declaration of feudal holdings, or “aveu et dénombrements”)

In French, manuscript on parchment
Western France (La Pignonnière, near Angers), dated March 30, 1511

An unpublished manuscript that provides a rare insight into the feudal holdings of the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud. This document is a declaration of the fiefs held by the vassals of one of the principal dependencies of the Abbey, the fiefdom of Pignonnière, in Saint Barthélémy d'Anjou, now a suburb of Angers. Feudal inventories from France are rarely studied, and few have been edited.  This manuscript thus offers previously unknown material for exploring late medieval society in Anjou. 

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TM 869
at curatorial service

Printed Book of Hours (Use of Rome)

In Latin and French, illuminated imprint on parchment
France (Paris), c. 1526 [almanac 1526-1541]. 17 large, 10 small and 16 medallions after designs by Jean Pichore, likely hand-colored in the Parisian workshop of Germain Hardouyn

Germain Hardouyn and his brother Gilles registered as “illuminators” as well as printers, which was uncommon in the book trade.  As such, printed Books of Hours like this one from their shop are often exceptionally well painted, resembling illuminated manuscripts.  Another illuminator-painter, Jean Pichore, thought of as the most successful illuminator and printer in Paris around 1500, designed the woodcuts for this imprint. This copy survives as a splendid example of the printed book that deliberately imitates a manuscript.

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TM 1076
at curatorial service