Traité des droits d´armes de noblesse

The Bruges Master of 1482 and workshop

Manuscript on vellum, 208 leaves (complete), written in French, with 12 miniatures and 63 coats-of-arms 36.3 x 25.3 cm (14.3 x 10 in.) Flanders, Bruges, circa 1480-90, possibly circa 1483-86

This is an extraordinary anthology of chivalric treatises made for the noble Claude de Neufchâtel, identified by his coat of arms (f. 1). The finely illuminated texts deal with chivalric protocol, heraldry, rights and privileges, and the laws of war in Spain, France, Burgundy, and England. Of these texts, especially Honoré Bovet´s "L´arbre de batailles" has been of considerable influence on the development of the law of nations (Hugo Grotius´ "De belli ac pacis," 1625). This collection is known in slightly varied form in only four manuscripts. Two of these are smaller and appear somewhat old-fashioned compared to the more refined present volume and that in Yale University, Beinecke Library, ms. 230. The original model is suggested to have been the codex made around 1481 (Paris, BnF, fr. 1280) for Louis of Bruges, Lord of Gruuthuse (c. 1427-1492). As it contains Bovet´s text in only excerpts, the copyist of our manuscript will have had another, fuller model at his disposal. The quality of the miniatures as well as unique iconographic details make this an outstanding codex.

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Created in Bruges for the Burgundian nobleman Claude de Neufchâtel, Seigneur de Fay (c. 1449-1505, his coat of arms f. 1), knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece since 1491; Bern, Julius Hess (1900-1940), sale of his collection: Gutekunst & Klipstein (Bern 1941) as cat. no. 1220; Martin Bodmer (1899-1971), Geneva; H. P. Kraus (1907-1988), New York; Bernard H. Breslauer (1918-2004), New York; private collection, Belgium
Gutekunst & Klipstein, Nachlass Julius Hess, vol. 2. Bern 1941, cat. 19, no. 1220, with biography of Julius Hess, accessed July 2017; Kraus, H. P., Choice Books and Manuscripts, cat. 126. New York 1971, no. 11; Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, accessed July 2017


Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG

"Books, Maps and Manuscripts"

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