Pretty medieval manuscript of the day must be one of the most detailed we have ever looked at. This late medieval/early renaissance book is attributed to a group known as the “circle of the master of 1482”. Both the scribal hand and the illustration are of the highest order. The book is a selection of chronicles of early France. This scene is, according to the British Library, “Miniature of Childebert and Clothaire before Saragossa meeting a bishop of Saragossa, with the bishop and clergy bringing out relics of Vincent”. In the border are the royal arms of England, as used by the Beauforts and Henry VII. It is one of six volumes, which have a fascinating provenance as the catalogue record tells:
Thomas Thwaytes (d. 1503), chancellor of the Exchequer, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under Edward IV, and treasurer of Calais until 1490, arrested for treason in 1494, written for him in 1487 by Hugues de Lembourg, his servant, as a gift for Henry VII: colophon ‘Cy finissent les fais et ges/tes du roy Loys le gros. / Ensemble les fais et / gestes de tous les au/tres dessus nommez ses / predeccesseurs, ce qui bi/en doit souffire pour / le contenu du premi/ers volume present des / nobles croniques de / france, escriptes en la / fourme et maniere que / dessus par le comman/dement de noble ho[m]me / messire Thomas Thway/tes chevallier engloys co[n]/seiller de Treshault tres/puissant et tresexcellent / prince Henry le VIIe par / la grace de dieu roy dan/gleterre et tresorier de / ses ville et marches de / Calays. Et fut ce pre/sent et premier volume / desdictes cronicques par/acheve et fine de la mai[n] / de Hugues de Lembourg / natif de Paris poure / clerc et humble servite[u]r / domestique du dessus/nomme tresorier. Lan / du regne du dessusdit / son souverain seigneur/ et maistre IIIe. Le XIIIe io[u]r / Doctobre’ (vol. 3, Royal 20 E III, f. 94v); his arms (vol. 3, Royal 20 E III, f. 155v).
Henry VII (b. 1457, d. 1509), king of England and lord of Ireland: the royal arms of England, a banner with the Yorkist motto ‘Dieu et mon droit’, two red roses of Lancaster (f. 47), red roses of Lancaster and white roses of York (f. 48), and the Beaufort’s badge of a portcullis, used by Henry VII (f. 47).
The Old Royal Library (the English Royal Library): perhaps to be identified with the ‘Croniques de France’ included in the list of books at Richmond Palace of 1535, no. 60; and perhaps in the Catalogue of 1666, Royal Appendix 71, f. 13v.
Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.
I think it is quite stunning. The naturalistic borders with their symbolic plants and animals (I especially like the dragon) are particularly beautiful.
Image source: British Library MS Royal 20 E I. Image declared as public domain on the British Library website.