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Walters Ms. W.201, Jean de Wavrin, Les Chroniques d'Angleterre (Vol. 4)

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Jean de Wavrin, Les Chroniques d'Angleterre (Vol. 4)

Text title
Les Chroniques d'Angleterre


Supplied name: Jean de Wavrin


This manuscript is volume IV in a set of five from the collection "Recueil des chroniques et anchiennes istories de la Grant Bretaigne," written by Phillip the Good's counselor and chamberlain Jean de Wavrin. It chronicles the history of England from the early years of the reign of Richard II in 1377 to the demise of Henry IV, his successor, between 1400 and 1413. This volume, produced in Flanders between 1470 and 1480, was part of a set of which volumes II, III and V were recorded in the inventory of the library of William III of Orange in 1686, and was later rebound during the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Six three-quarter-page miniatures open the text of each book and depict events documented therein (with the exception of that of Book 1, portraying Richard II's coronation, which occurs prior to the period detailed in that book). The manuscript's margins are wide and relatively pristine throughout the textblock, but show significant signs of use on illuminated folios, indicating that this manuscript was primarily used for display and not as a historical text. Although few volumes of the Chroniques remain, this manuscript is particularly rare in that it is one of the two surviving exemplars of the text of volume IV, the other being part of the complete set in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BN fr. 74-85). Volumes II, III, and V of the set to which this volume originally belonged are now in the collection of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Den Haag, KB : 133 A 7).


Ca. 1470-80 CE




Supplied name: Style of the Ghent Associates






The primary language in this manuscript is French, Middle (ca.1400-1600).

Support material


Medium-weight parchment; well finished with consistent texture and color; several mended holes (original), primarily in margins (e.g., see fol. 84); flyleaves contemporary with binding; front flyleaf i and back flyleaf v are paper; watermarks visible on front flyleaf i (cross with "IHS" above and "IVILLEDARY" underneath) and back flyleaf v (escutcheon with fleur-de-lis with crown above and "IVG" underneath)


Foliation: v+334+v

Early foliation in red Roman numerals, upper right corners, rectos; modern pencil foliation, upper right corners, rectos


Formula: v, 1(10), 2-16(8), 17(6), 18-32(8), 33(6), 34-38(8), 39(6), 40-42(8), 43(6), v

Catchwords: Fragments of catchwords occasionally visible (e.g. fols. 90v and 184v.)

Signatures: Few signatures visible, especially on fol. 59r, where capital "G" is visible

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 11(2), 19(3), 27(4), 35(5), 43(6), 51(7), 59(8), 67(9), 75(10), 83(11), 91(12), 99(13), 107(14), 115(15), 123(16), 131(17), 137(18), 145(19), 153(20), 161(21), 169(22), 177(23), 185(24), 193(25), 201(26), 207(27), 215(28), 223(29), 231(30), 239(31), 247(32), 255(33), 261(34), 269(35), 277(36), 283(37), 291(38), 299(39), 305(40), 313(41), 321(42), 329(43)


34.4 cm wide by 45.0 cm high

Written surface

20.6 cm wide by 27.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 2
  2. Ruled lines: 36
  3. Ruled in purple ink; occasional pricking visible along fore-edge on some folios

fols. 1r - 335v:
  1. Title: Les Chroniques d'Angleterre
  2. Hand note: Written in littera batarda
  3. Decoration note: Each of six books begins with a 3/4-page miniature, including rubrics with one to two decorated initials, followed by incipit with large decorated initial (6 lines), surrounded by large tromp l'oeil borders, one inhabited (fol. 83r); intermittent blue and red panel line fillers beginning on fol. 115v; in table of contents, first incipit begins with large decorated initial in gold, blue, and rose with white ornamentation (3 lines); smaller initials begin each other section of table of contents (2 lines); small decorated initials in burnished gold, pink and blue throughout (1-2 lines); rubrics in red; text in brown ink; decoration offsets visible on fol. 90v indicative of quires being stacked while unbound at unknown date
fols. 1r - 10r:
  1. Title: Table of contents
  2. Incipit: Cy commence la table des rubriches de ce quart voll[m]e des choniques dangleterre quy contient en soy .vi. liures particuliers Le premiere desquelz comprent .liiii. chapittres...
  3. Contents: Table of contents in six parts for books 1-6
fols. 11r - 332v:
  1. Title: Les Chroniques d'Angleterre
  2. Author: Jean de Wavrin
  3. Artist: Style of the Ghent Associates
  4. Rubric: Cy commence le quart vollume des Cronicques dangleterre qui contient en soy .vi. liures particuliers. Le premier desquelz est diuise en .liiii. chapittres. Du premier desquelz il parle de une grant murmuration qui se fist alencontre du roy richard dangleterre Et de ceulz qui le gouuernoient.
  5. Incipit: Pour rentrer en matiere et commenchier nostre quart vollume en laisant les histoires de bretaigne un peu reposer jusques il. soit heure dy retourner Nous declarerons plusieurs merueilleuses hystoires.
  6. Contents: The text contains books 1-6; fols. 11r-82r: Book 1; fols. 83r-146v: Book 2; fols. 147r-206v: Book 3; 207r-260r: Book 4; fols. 261r-280v: Book 5; fols. 283r-332v: Book 6
  7. Text note: Second redaction; heavily relies on the material from the Chroniques de Richard II and Jean Foissart's Chroniques; text in Vol. IV concerns the years proceeding Richard II's coronation in 1377 up to the death of Henry IV in 1413
  8. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures fols. 11r, 83r, 147r, 207r, 261r, and 283r


fol. 11r:

  1. W.201, fol. 11r
  2. Title: Coronation of Richard II
  3. Form: 3/4-page miniature
  4. Text: Book 1

fol. 83r:

  1. W.201, fol. 83r
  2. Title: Envoys and Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, arranging for his daughter Catherine to be married to Henry, the son of King John of Castile; messenger sent by John, duke of Berry, being received
  3. Form: 3/4-page miniature
  4. Text: Book 2

fol. 147r:

  1. W.201, fol. 147r
  2. Title: French and English representatives meet at Leulighem: The "Peace of Duke Philip"
  3. Form: 3/4-page miniature
  4. Text: Book 3

fol. 207r:

  1. W.201, fol. 207r
  2. Title: Council at Rheims
  3. Form: 3/4-page miniature
  4. Text: Book 4

fol. 261r:

  1. W.201, fol. 261r
  2. Title: Murder of Richard II and Coronation of Henry IV
  3. Form: 3/4-page miniature
  4. Text: Book 5

fol. 283r:

  1. W.201, fol. 283r
  2. Title: Order to release Douglas being received by Thomas Percy of Northumberland; Thomas Percy being struck by Henry IV at Battle of Shrewsbury
  3. Form: 3/4-page miniature
  4. Text: Book 6


The binding is not original.

French, seventeenth- or eighteenth-century binding; brown calf, brindled; re-sewn on six chords in the recesses of six original pairs of deep cuts; book box replaces case made of oak with lock and key recorded in 1912 Sotheby's sale catalog


Produced in Flanders in the late 1470s

Visible brown ink inscription ("27-6" on fol. 1) possibly indicative of price and related to this volume's separation from the set of three others (II, III, V) mentioned in the 1686 inventory of the library of William III of Orange

Ex-libris (cropped, in brown, faded ink) on fol. 2 reads "Philipp. Franc...," ca. 1700

Rebound ca. 1700/1800 in France

Robert Blathwayt of Dyrham Park, Chippenham, until 1912

Sabin, London bookseller, purchased at Sotheby's, London, November 20, 1912, lot 125

Leo S. Olschki, Florentine bookseller, inventory no. "35396" on front pastedown in pencil

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased between 1912 and 1914


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Diringer, David. The Illuminated Book: Its History and Production. London: Faber and Faber, 1967; p. 458

De Ricci, S., and W.J. Wilson. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1935, p. 851, cat. no. 527.

Miner, Dorothy. Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore: Trustees of the Walters Art Gallery, 1949; cat. no. 135, pl. XLIV. (fol. 261)

Miner, Dorothy. "The Illustrated Book." Bulletin of the Walters Art Gallery 120, no. 4 (1951); n.p. illus. (fol. 261)

Leinwand, Gerald. The Pageant of World History. Boston: Pearson Prentice Hall, 1962; (fol. 11)

Lecat, Jean-Philippe. Le siècle de la Toison d'Or. Paris: Éditions Flammarion, 1986; p. 81 (fol. 147)

Burin, Elizabeth. "Tales in the Telling: Secular Narrative Illustration in the Medieval Book." Bulletin of the Walters Art Gallery 44/4 (1991); illus. 4 (fol. 283).

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 3, Belgium, 1250-1530. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1997; pp. 387-392, cat. no. 276.

Sutton, Anne, and Livia Visser-Fuchs. ‪Richard III's Books‬: ‪Ideals and Reality in the Life and Library of a Medieval Prince‬. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 1997; p. 179.‬‬‬‬‬‬

Nevins, Teresa. “Les Chroniques d’Angleterre. ‘The Chronicles of England.’” In Medieval Mastery: Book Illumination from Charlemagne to Charles the Bold (800-1475). Edited by William Noel and Lee Preedy. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2002; pp. 316-317.

McKendrick, Scot. “Master of the London Wavrin.” In Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe. Edited by Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick, 278-80. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003; p. 280 (ref. under cat. no. 75).

Visser-Fuchs, Livia. “‘Pour recréer les espertiz’: De handschriften en lezerksing van ‘Recueil des chroniques d’Engleterre’ van Jean de Wavrin.” Handelingen van de Koninklijke kring voor oudheidkunde, letteren en kunst van Mechelen 105 (2001): 59-80; p. 69.

Adamczuk, Aradiusz. “Księga - dzieło sztuki, księga - dzieło kultury: dwie wystawy średniowiecznych iluminowanych kodeksów rękopiśmiennych w Belgii.” Roczniki humanistyczne 52/4 (2004): 539-48; p. 544.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Mergen, Christopher

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Mergen, Christopher; Noel, William; Schuele, Allyson; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Wiegand, Kimber


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.