Lancelot-Grail Intranet Site-Project Manuscripts

© Alison Stones, assisted by Michael Gullick

Amsterdam, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, MS 1/Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 215/Manchester, The John Rylands University Library, MS French 1 (hereafter Amst./Douce/Ryl.)

Estoire, Merlin, Lancelot, Queste, Mort Artu,with many lacunae in Douce/Ryl.  Dimensions and quires are listed below by manuscript.  All volumes 2 columns, 44 lines.


A: using black ink, with tall ascenders on top lines and descenders on bottom lines, caps and many st ligatures touched in light yellow throughout: Amst i, entire volume, Amst. ii, ff. 1-136 line 10; Amst. ii, ff. 151v col. a, line 39-159v; Douce, entire volume (with some recopying, see below); Ryl. ff. 82-181v.  Scribe B, using brown ink, letters taller in proportion, closer to Royal scribes A and B: Amst. ii, ff. 136 line 11-151v col. a, line 38.  Scribe C: a more rounded hand, no tall ascenders: Amst. ii, ff. 160-end, f. 233v.  Scribe D: rounded letter forms, no tall ascenders, mostly brown ink; similar to Scribe C. Amst. iii, entire volume; Ryl. ff. 1-81v, 182-204v, 205-211v.  Rubricator 1 (not the same as any of the scribes): same throughout.

Penflourishing by three hands. P1: initials in red with blue/turquoise flourishing, alternating with blue initials and red flourishing, motifs of frogspawn with and without dots, borders of 'Js', double J with blob, in red, blue and turquoise, ending in squiggles and curls in the  upper and lower margins. Amst. i, entire volume; Amst. ii, ff. 1-60v (end of quire V)..  Penflourishing is used irregularly: no penflourishing in Amst. quires C-G; but penflourshing on every leaf in quires I-J, and on most leaves in other quires.  P2's work is sketchy, alternating red initials and turquoise flourishing with blue initials and red flourishing, using 'J; and 'L' motifs, jagged motifs, and double curves with central blob, frogspawn without dots.  Often ends scrollwork with sketchy leaf motif.  P2 did Amst. ii, quires W, X, and part of Y (ff. 61-77v); P1 flourished f. 84, conjoined with f. 77, completing quire Y, ad continuing through quire EE (f. 135v).  P3: similar to P1 but often uses mauve/brown as an alternative to dull turquoise/green with the red letters, and borders consisting of Js with a cutout at the top, ending with closed loops in the bottom margins and mostly closed loops at the top, with some diagonal lines; frogspawn with dots surrounds the initials: Amst. ii, ff. 136-end, f. 233v; Amst. iii entire volume, accompanying miniatures and independently.  Douce/Rylands: P3 did quires A-Y, DD-GG; P2 did quires Z-CC; P3 did quires HH-to the end.  Occasionally penflourishing within an initial is filled in with solid colour (Ryl. f. 74, 177v, 256); one large penfourished initial with two-tone bar in red and blue with motifs left reserved in white (Ryl. f. 231); one large penflourished initial containing a bird (Amst. i, f. 1).

Champie initials by 3 hands.  In Amst. i, C1 and C2 work within the same quire but not on the same bifolio; C1 uses brighter colours, most notably blue, and often uses flower motifs, in red on f. 1, and on f. 1 encloses the initial in a fillet of silver, as does the miniature on f. 1; C 2 uses a dull turquoise shade of blue and no flowers.  Both employ gold 'stems' within the body of the initial. C1 seems to be in charge, as on f. 43 he completes an initial begun by the other champie painter.  Both often use curved ink lines on corners, as does the main artist of the miniatures.  In Amst. ii, C1's work, with a greater preference for flower motifs,  is found up to f. 58v, corresponding to the work of P1.  C3's work is sketchy, using white leafy scrollwork similar to the border terminals of P2.  His work is in Amst. ii, f. 67v, 72, 78; C2 did the champie on f. 78v and C2 continues to the end of the volume.  There are no champie initials in Amst. iii.  C1: Douce quire A, ff. 1, 3v; Ryl. quires B-Y (ff. 13v-181v, end of Agravain). C3: Ryl./Douce. quires Z-KK f. 218. C2: Ryl./Douce quires KK f. 221-QQ, end.

Illustrations by 3 artists, listed below by volume; hand 1 is the artist of Royal and is hand 1 of Add.  Hand 2 occurs in Douce/Ryl.  Hand 3 is a later artist, c. 1380-1400, and occurs in Amst./Douce/Ryl.

Amsterdam, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica MS 1: Estoire, Merlin, Lancelot (to the end of Charette)
bound in 3 vols. (here i, ii, iii), 118, 233, 104 ff. , 405 x 290(290x200) mm.  Quires: A-G 8, H 10, I-N 8, O 8-4, P 10, Q-BB 8, CC 10, DD 8, EE-FF 10, GG-QQ 8, RR 2, SS 6, TT-EE 8, FFF 4; occasional original catchwords; some 14-15th c. catchwords.

83 champie initials without miniatures in Amst. i and ii (in Estoire and in Lancelot in the first section,  From Lancelot's childhood up to his installation as a knight at the Round Table, but none in the rest of Amst. ii nor in Amst. iii), by 3 hands, ten-line on Amst. i f. 1, the rest four to six lines; rubrics precede champies in Amst. vol. i, but not in Amst. vol. ii.  A total of 190 illustrations, comprising 1 historiated initial: Amst. ii f. 43v (the Lady of the Lake entering the lake holding baby Lancelot); 4 miniatures without rubrics, in three-quarters or half of a column, with a one-line champie initial in a cut-out in the top right corner (Amst. ii ff. 37, 41, 49, 54v); 102 single-column miniatures by one hand, mostly accompanied by rubrics and 1 miniature added by a late fourteenth-century hand (Amst. ii, f. 45, Lancelot crossing the Sword Bridge).  Borders supporting figures on Amst. i, f. 1, for the opening of Estoire and Amst. ii f. 1, for the opening of Merlin, but not for the opening of Lancelot. Outer fillets of silver in Amst. i, and Ryl.; outer fillets in gold in Amst. ii, iii, and Douce.  No gold or silver fillets in the work of hands 2 or 3.  Notes written in leadpoint in the bottom margin on illustrated pages for rubrics and for miniatures, most erased.

Estoire: Amst. i ff. 1-118v, col. 2 line 21 ([S I]; Pon based on Amst. for ff. 1-63): No opening rubric.  Text inc.  Chil ki la hauteche et la signourie de si haute estoire com est chele Graal...  ([S 1 3. 1]; Pon I, 1).  Expl.  ... Si se taist ore atant li contes de tout les lignies qui de Celidoine issirent et retorne a vne estoire de Merlin qui conuient a iouster a lestoire del saint Graal. pour chou quil ia vne branche qui i apartient. Et commenche me sires Robers en tel maniere com vous porres oir sil est qui le vous die.  Ore nous consaut sainte Marie. Amen.   Followed after blanks in col. 2, line 42 by the opening rubric for Merlin:Chi commenche le branke de Mellin  ([cf. S I 296. 24]). 27 miniatures accompanied by rubrics (except on f. 1), all illustrated by hand 1 and followed by plain ink capitals or penflourished initials; 41 champie initials without miniatures, by 2 hands who share quires but not bifolia; champies preceded by rubrics except on ff. 1, 9v, 15v, 16v, 20v; spaces for rubrics above champies on ff. 9, 74.  No added miniatures.

Merlin (without a Suite Vulgate du Merlin): Amst. ii  ff.1 col. a line 1-37 col. b line 11 ([S II 3-88.18; MM]).  Opening rubric on the last f. of the previous vol.  Text inc.  Mout fu irie anemi quant Nostre Sires ot est en ynfier... ([MM 18.1; cf. S II 3.1]).  Expl.   ...Ensi fu Artus esleus a roi et tint la terre et le roiaume de Logres en pais lonc tans.   (Lancelot follows without a break). One miniature only, in one column, with 2-line foliate initial and border, by hand 1. No champie initials.  No added miniatures.

Lancelot: Amst. ii. ff. 37 col. b, line 28-233v ([S III-S IV 89; LK; LM III]), followed without a break by Amst. iii ff. 1-104v ([S IV 89.5; LM III 120]); followed without a break by Douce ff. 1-8v and (after a lacuna) by Ryl.  ff. 1-181v, with further lacunae ([S V; LM IV]).  123 illustrations: 80 in Amst. and 43 in Douce/Ryl; 101 miniatures by hand 1 in one column, most preceded by rubrics and followed by one-line ink capitals or, in Amst. vol. ii, by pen-flourished initials; one historiated initial without a rubric (Amst. ii f. 43v); 4 miniatures in half or three-quarters of a column without rubrics (Amst. ii ff. 37, 41, 49, 54v); 17 added miniatures. 42 champie initials without miniatures or rubrics, by 2 hands (hand 1 of vol. i and a third champie painter, not hand 2 of vol. i).  The Lancelot text is subdivided by pages with borders on Douce f. 1 ([S V 3. 1]) and Ryl. f. 82 ([S V 256.8]), but the opening of the Lancelot follows directly after the end of the Merlin and is not so marked (Amst. ii, f. 37, col. b, line 28).

1.  From Lancelot's childhood to his installation at the Round Table: Amst. ii ff. 37 col. b line 28-199 col. a line 40  ([ S III; LK; LM VII, VIII]).  No opening rubric.  Text inc.   En la marche de Gaule et de la Petite Bertaigne...  (S III 3.1, LK 1.1, LM VII 1).  Expl.  ...Mais atant se taist ore li contes a parler du roy et de sa compaignie. et quant liez en iert bien y sara retorner Et retorne a parler de Galeholt qui en maine Lancelot en son pais.  ([S III 430.6; LK 572.4; LM VIII 490]).  One historiated initial without a rubric (f. 43v);  20 miniatures, of which 4 in half or three quarters of a column without rubrics, on ff. 37, 41, 49, 54v, the rest in one column preceded by rubrics (except on f. 37), all by hand 1 except for one added miniature on f. 45: Lancelot crossing the Sword Bridge.  42 champie initials without miniatures or rubrics, by hand 1 of vol. i and another hand.

2.  From the Journey to Sorelois to the Death of Galehot: Amst. ii ff. 199 col. b, line 1-Amst. iii f. 29 col. a line 4 ([S IV 3-155; LM III]).  Rubric inc.   Chi relieue Lancelot le roy Galehous qui estoit cheus a terre de son cheual.   Text inc. En ceste partie si dist li contes que Galehous se parti de la cort le roy Artu si en maine vers son pais Lancelot son conpagnon...  ([S IV 3.1; LK 572.5; LM III 1]]).  Expl.  Amst. ii f. 233v:  ...Si se taist ore li contes a parler de monseigneur Yvain et de Lancelot et retourne a parler du duc de Clarence.  ([S IV 89. 4; LM III 119]), followed by rubric: Chi entra li dus de Clarence en vn chastel . Amst. iii f. 1 follows without a break: Chi endroit dist li contes que quant li dus de Clarence se fu partis de ses compaignons...  ([S IV 89. 5; LM III 120]). Expl.   ... (iii f. 28v line 38 of 42) lors trespassa de chest siecle comme li plus preudoms au dit del conte qui onques fust au tamps de son eage. quar li grant aumosne qui il fist ne seroit mie legierement acontee. et sez nies Galehaudins fu reuestus (f. 29) de tout sa terre et rechut les hommages des barons.  Mais atant sen taist li contes que plus nen parole. si retorne a parler de Lancelot.  ([S IV 155.18; LM III 252. XXXV]). 23 miniatures by  hand 1, of which 6 in vol. ii, 17 in vol. iii; no added miniatures. No champie initials in this part of vol. ii, and none in vol. iii.

3.  Conte de la Charette: Amst. iii ff. 29, col. a line 12-55 col. a, line 13 ([S IV 155-226. 11; LH; LM II 1.1-108. XLII. 12]).  Rubric inc. Chi trouua le dame du lac Lancelot en vn bois tout forsene.  Text inc. Or dist li contes que quant Lancelot se fu partis de Sorelois et il fu hors de la terre. si fist duel cascun ior ...  ([S IV 155.18; LH 1.1; LM II 1.1, XXXVI.1]).  Expl.  ...pour la volente la royne acomplir et le roy lor otroia li. ([S IV 226. 11; LH 112, LM II 108. XLII. 12]). 11 miniatures, 10 by hand 1, 1 added (f. 45 Lancelot crossing the Sword Bridge).  No champie initials.

4.  Suite de la Charette: Amst. iii ff. 55 col. a, line 14-104v col. d line 42 of 42 ([S IV 226. 11; LM II 108. XLII. 12])  Inc. : Grant fu la ioie et la feste...Expl.  ...Et quant Mordres fu montes sor son cheual si se part del chevalier et de la damoisele et se met en son chemin si com il auoit fait deuant. Mais atant se taist ore licontes a parler de lui et retorne a parler de son frere Agrauain.  Rubric for Agravain follows on line 42 and extends into the margin: Ch[i] comenche li liures de le b[r erased]anque Agrauain. ([S IV 362. 31; LM II 419. LXIX.23]). 25 miniatures by hand 1. No champie initials.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 215; Manchester, The John Rylands University Library, MS French 1 (interleaved): Agravain, Queste, Mort Artu

Douce: 45 ff. + ii numbered 46 and 47. 394/6x280(290x200), 2 cols. 44 lines. Quires A8, B7, C8, D7, E-F 8, G7, H-I 8, J 10, K 4, L 6, M-X 8, Y 4, Z 7, AA-CC 8, DD 7, EE 4, FF 4, GG 98, HH 7, II 1, JJ-KK 6, LL 8, MM 4, NN-PP 8, QQ 5, ending incomplete. Interleaved with Ryl. Written by 1 scribe, scribe A of Amst., with some recopying (see below). 5 champie initials, without rubrics, one with miniature on f. 1, by hand 1 of Amst. (9 lines); 4 without miniatures or rubrics on ff. 3v, 29v, 32, 36v; one by  hand 1 (f. 3v, 8 lines); ff. 29v, 32, 36v by hand 3 of Amst, using pink and blue backgrounds (4-6 lines). 7 miniatures, 2 in Agravain (ff. 1, 3v),  5 in Queste (ff., 14, 29v, 31, 32, 36v) none in Mort Artu: 4 by hand 1 (f. 1, with gold outer fillet and border; ff. 31v, 35, 39v, with silver outer fillets and no borders); 1 by hand 2 (f. 14), 2 added (ff. 3v, 32).  3 miniatures excised, two original, one an added miniature: cuts indicate a miniature was excised on the missing leaf between ff. 21v and 22, cuts visible back to f. 17; a marginal miniature was cut out on one of four now-excised leaves between ff. 29v and 30, cut marks in the bottom margin on ff. 30 and 31; ff. 38 and 39  have further cut marks in the text block area, indicating that a miniature was cut out on the now excised leaf in Ryl., shortly after f. 205v since Ryl. f. 205 follows directly from Douce f. 39v.  These last cuts in Douce must have been made when Douce and Ryl. still formed part of the same volume.  One added woodblock print, early 16th c., from Johannes Hartlieb's Alexander, probably of 1503, printed in Strassburg by Bartholomeus Küstler, showing an effigy of Philip of Macedonia or Alexander the Great (the same plate was used for both) on his tomb (f. iii verso) (identified by Nigel Palmer); one added engraving, from N.X. Willemin, Monuments français inédits pour servir à l histoire des arts depuis le VIe siècle jusqu'au commencement du XVIIe, Paris: Willemin, 2 vols.,  1806-1814 and 1839, pl. 137, reproducing in an engraving the healing of the Roi Mehaignié by Galaad from the Queste in Paris, BNF fr. 343, f. 103 (f. 47v) (identified by Roger Middleton).

Rylands: bound in 2 volumes, 129 and 128 ff, numbered 1-257, 389x285(295x203), 2 cols. 44 lines.  Written by 2 scribes, 1) (Scribe D of Amst.) ff. 1-81v, 182-204v, 205-211v; 2) (scribe A of Amst. ?) ff. 82-181v.  24 champie initials without miniatures. One historiated initial and border, for the opening of Mort Artu (f. 212); 75 miniatures, with a border on f. 82 (at  S V  256.8, which does not correspond to a text division), 46 by hand 1, with gold fillets up to the end of Agravain, with silver fillets from f. 208 (where hand 1 resumes for the last two miniatures in Queste) up to the end of Mort Artu, 11 by hand 2 (all at the beginning of Queste, see below), 18 added miniatures.

5.  Agravain: ([S V; LM IV-VI]): opening rubric is on Amst. iii, f. 104v; followed directly by Douce ff. 1 (col. a, line 1)-8v; lacuna; Ryl. ff. 1-181v.  Text inc. Chi endroit dist li contes ke quant Agravains se fu partis de ses compaignons si com vous aues oi quil erra .ii. iors sans auenture trouer.. .  ([S V 3.1; LM IV.1]).  Expl.  ... si en vint de toutes pars tant que nus ne les veist quil ne sen peust esmerueillier. Mais a tant fenist chi endroit maistre Gautiers Map son liure de Lancelot del Lac. si commence a parler du saint Graal.  ([S V 409.16; LM VI 244.CVIII.16]).  Followed on line 43 by the opening rubric to the QuesteChi commenche li liures du saint Graal. 41 illustrations (2 in Douce, 39 in Ryl), with borders on Douce f. 1 and Ryl.  f. 82 (at  S V  256.8);  27 miniatures by hand 1, preceded by rubrics (except on Ryl.  f. 140v, 179) and accompanied by champie initials (except on Ryl.  ff. 16v, 24v, 46v, 69 and 167 which have a penflourished initial); 16 champie initials without miniatures or rubrics (a rubric was added in error in the margin on f. 46, erased, and re-entered at the bottom of the page in the one remaining blank line, extending a second line in the margin: this rubric accompanies the miniature on f. 46v which follows at the top of the page) (Douce f. 3v; Ryl.  f. 13v, 15, 24, 25v, 33, 38, 43v, 46, 48v, 53v (2), 66v, 72, 73, 77), all by hand 1; 14 miniatures added c. 1400 on the pages with champie initials (but no added miniatures accompany the champies on Rylands ff. 46 and 77).

Queste: ([S VI 3-199; Pau]): Opening rubric on Ryl. f. 181v, see above; text: beginning missing (lacuna of 1 leaf in Ryl. between 181v and 182), ff. 182-204v.  inc. /ke on fait par laiens de Bohort et de Lyonel...  ([S VI 6. 1; Pau 4. 30 + var]); f. 204v expl. ...tout le iour demour laiens Percheval ([S VI 68. 30, Pau 95. 7]), followed directly by Douce ff. 9-39v,  inc. Jusca eure de nonne mais si tost comme chele eure fu passee enporta li Lyone le lionchel...( [S VI 68.30, Pau 173.18]); expl. Quant il vindrent au/, followed directly by Ryl.  ff. 205-211v, inc. maistre palais...   expl.  ...chil ki tous ert estrais de maluaise lig/; followed directly by Douce 215 f. 45, inc. /nie de paiiens si ne crut riens de quantul [sic] disent ains dist quil estoient aucun traiteir mauuais... ; expl. f. 45v, col. d, line 24: Bohort ot contees les auentures del Graal teles com il les auoit veues si furent mises en escrit et gardees en labeie de Salebieres dont maistres Gautiers Map traist a faire son liure del saint Graal pour lamour del roi Henri son seigneur qui fist lestoire translater de latin en francois. si se taist atant li contes ke plus nen dist des auentures del. saint Graal.  ([S VI 199.5; Pau 280.5]).  22 illustrations, 5 in Douce (ff. 14, 31v, 32, 35, 39v), 17 in Ryl.; 5 by hand 1 (Douce f. 31v, 35, 39v; Ryl. ff. 208, 211v) preceded by rubrics and followed by penflourished initials; 12 by hand 2 (Ryl. ff. 182, 182v, 183, 183v, 184v, 185, 188v, 190, 192v, 195v, 198v; Douce f, 14), with rubrics added in a contemporary hand on Ryl. ff. 184v, 188v, 195v; on Ryl. f. 199 is a rubric at the top of the page, following the miniature at the bottom of f. 198v col. 2; the miniature on Douce f. 14 is preceded by a rubric in a space where more lines were left blank; hand 2's miniatures are accompanied by plain ink capitals except on f. 198v-199 where there is a champie by hand 2; 8 champie initials without miniatures or rubrics, by hand 2 (Ryl. ff. 187, 191, 193v, 194v; Douce ff. 29v, 32, 36v; Ryl. f. 205); 5 miniatures added c. 1400 on pages with champie initials (Ryl.  ff. 191, 193v, 194v; Douce f. 32 and between ff. 29v and 30; Ryl. f. 205; but not on Ryl. f. 187, Douce 29v, 36v).

Mort Artu: ([S VI 203-386; F]): Ryl.  f. 212-257v (with internal lacunae).  No opening rubric. Text inc.  Apres che que maistres Gautiers Map ot traitie des auentures del saint Graal asses souffisaument...  ([S VI 203. 1; F 1. 1]); expl. ...que chestoit aucune haute personne/ ([S VI S VI 368. 26, F 235. 184. 6]); followed after a lacuna by Douce ff. 40-44v, inc.  /ent molt bien et ochistrent grant partie des gens le roi Aguiscant...  ([S VI 371. 29; F 239. 186. 4]); expl. f. 44v, last paragraph copied in another (14c) hand, from /il rien remes quant il auoit perdu sa dame et son cousin. [E]n tel ire et en tel doulour...([S VI 386. 26; F 258. 199. 24]); expl.  ...vne petite chappelle ancienne et il descent alentree et oste son heaume. Et quant il/ cw in 15c hand, furent ([S VI 386. 33; 239, F 258. 200. 11]).  One large historiated initial (20 lines), with border; opening rubric above, by hand 1 (Ryl.  f. 212); 18 miniatures, all in Ryl.: 16 by hand 1, 2 added (ff. 223v, 239v).
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