This volume was made for the private devotions of Louis XI (reigned 1461-1483) and his wife Charlotte of Savoy (1441-1483) for use in the royal chapel of Saint Victor, a Parisian abbey on the left bank of the Seine. The illuminations are in the style of Jacques Besançon. The left folio depicts the Mass of the Dead in the presence of the abbot and canons of Saint Victor, and the right folio introduces the Short Hours of the Virgin.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Donnelley and the Florence Gould Foundation.
Pope Pius II (Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, 1405-1464) composed this tract in 1461 as part of a failed effort to lead a crusade to convert Muslims and to liberate the Holy Land. This, the king’s copy, was transcribed soon thereafter in emulation of an Italian model. On June 8, 1470, in the castle of Amboise, Louis XI presented this volume to his confessor and counselor, Jean Boucort, Bishop of Avranches (1453-1484).
Gift of the Florence Gould Foundation.
This illuminated printed volume was originally dedicated to Henry II (reigned 1547-1559) when he was dauphin, or heir to the French throne. It was later refitted with an inserted leaf for Henry’s son, Francis II (reigned 1559-1560), when he was dauphin. Ariosto’s Italian text, first printed in 1516, recounts the heroic adventures of Orlando, a lieutenant of Charlemagne during his wars against the Saracens, a suitable theme for a future French king. Unfortunately, Francis’s reign lasted less than two years; he died in 1560 at the age of sixteen leaving his wife, Mary, Queen of Scots, a widow.
From the library of Louis H. Silver.
This personal prayer book of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514) appears to be a gift from her husband, Louis XII (reigned 1498-1515), commissioned by him in Florence. The illuminations feature a central historiated initial that depicts King David in prayer and two roundels that display the Annunciation. Anne was pregnant with her first child by Louis in 1499, so this volume appropriately contains a special prayer to be recited during childbirth. The coat of arms on this page is not Anne’s; it was repainted in the mid-sixteenth century.
From the library of Henry Probasco.