Why these Project Manuscripts ?



by Alison Stones


The Pilot Project concentrated on three Lancelot-Grail manuscripts made by the same team of scribes, decorators and illuminators: London, BL Add. 10292-4 and Royal 14.E.III, and Amsterdam, BPH 1/Manchester, The John Rylands University Library French 1/Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce 215.   one copy is dated: 1316 (1317 New Style); it has more pictures than any other surviving copy.  The other two copies include many of the same subjects at the same places in the text; but often they differ both in placement and in treatment.


·           they were made by the same team of craftsmen (all anonymous)

·             they use similar script, penflourished decoration, champie initials

·               the major illuminator worked in all three copies (he is anonymous)

·               there are two other contemporary illuminators, also anonymous, whose work may be compared

·               other works by these artists allow their region to be established: between Saint-Omer (county of Artois, diocese of ThŽrouanne) and Tournai and Ghent (both in the County of Flanders and diocese of Tournai)

·               rubrics (captions written in red ink) accompany most of the pictures; they are never the same across copies; sometimes what they say is misleading or wrong

·               marginal notes are often preserved, some for the rubricator, others for the illuminator (most were erased); they show what kinds of information the rubricators and illuminators were given to work with

·                there are additions by a later illuminator (also anonymous) in one copy, showing what episodes a later owner thought were important to have added

·                comparisons among these copies suggest reasons why they are different:

they suggest what kind of people the patrons were and what their input was