BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 427 France, s. XV^^3/4
Christine de Pizan, Le Livre des Trois Vertus
ff. 1r-95r Cy commence le livre des trois vertus a lenseignement des dames.
Le premier chappitre deuise comment les vertus par la commandement xpistinne
[sic, spelled out] fist et compila le liure de la cite des dames. Et liu
apparurent de rechief. et luy commirent a faire ceste presente oeuure. Apres
que Ios ediffie a laide et par le commandement de trois dames de vertus Cest
assauoir raison droitture et Iustice...soit presentee deuant dieu ou siecle
sans fin. Lequel Il vous ottroit. Amen. Explicit le liure des .iij. vertus
A lenseignement des dames. ff. 95v-96v ruled, but blank
A complete modern text in French has not yet been published; portions are
printed in M. Laigle, Le Livre des Trois Vertus de Christine de Pisan et son
milieu historique et litteraire, in Bibliotheque de XV^^e siecle
v. 16 (Paris, 1912). Printed in Paris, 1497, by Antoine Verard (GKW v. 6,
no. 6649). Cf. also the unpublished dissertation of L. L. DeBower (U. of
Massachusetts, 1979) 436 pp.
Parchment, ff. ii (paper) + i (parchment) + 96 + i (parchment) + ii (paper),
354 x 263 (216 x 160) mm., trimmed. Written in 28 long lines; single vertical
and horizontal bounding lines, full length and full across. Ruled in red ink.
Prickings (slashes) in outer margin.
I-XII^^8. Catchwords in right corner, lower edge near gutter, verso.
Remains of leaf signatures in lower right corner, recto.
Written in batarde, with elaborate flourishes and cadeaux in upper and
The manuscript includes four miniatures which are among the finest by the
Master of Amiens 200, active in Hesdin and Mons and possibly in Amiens in the
third quarter of the fifteenth century (see Plummer, Last Flowering,
pp. 14-15, no. 20, pl. 20 of f. 1r; Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 243-244, no. 68,
pl. 24 of f. 1r). Other manuscripts decorated by the same artist include a Valerius
Maximus, Berlin, Staatsbibliothek MS 94; the Histoires romaines by Jean
Mansel made for Philip the Good, Paris, Bibl. de l'Arsenal MSS 5087-88; a
Girart de Roussillon written at Mons in 1448, Vienna, Oest. Nationalbibl.
Cod. 2549; a Chroniques de Hainaut, Boulogne, Bibl. Mun. MS 149; and a Book
of Hours, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library MS 194. In addition to these
manuscripts cited by Plummer, J. Marrow attributes two other works to the same
artist: Berlin, Kunstbibliothek MS Lipp. Cd 1; Amiens, Bibliotheque
Municipale MS 200.
Four half-page miniatures: f. 1r Three virtues before
Christine de Pizan, f. 16r Princesses seated around Dame Prudence, f. 49v
Courtly and noble women seated before three Virtues, f. 72r Bourgeois and
common women seated before three Virtues, in gently arched red and/or blue and
gold frames. Each miniature with a 6- to 4-line initial, blue with white
highlights, filled with red, blue and green ivy, against an irregular gold
ground, edged in black, some with cusping. Initial on f. 1r with arms of
Crevecoeur family (gules, 3 chevrons or) added later. Folios with miniatures
have a blue and gold bar in inner margin, with diamond-shaped terminals and
regularly spaced blocks of black hair-spray with two gold ivy leaves in margin;
the other three margins with red, blue and green acanthus, with some gold, red
and blue flowers, birds, insects, surrounded by blue and gold ivy leaves.
2-line initials, gold, filled with pink or blue against irregular, cusped blue
or pink grounds with white filigree. Rubrics throughout.
Binding: s. xix. Red, straight-grained goatskin gold-tooled with black
onlays over the bands. Light blue, watered silk doublures and gilt edges.
Bound by Bozerian (Paris, 1793-1817). Armorial binding of comte L. L. Pajot
d'Ons-en-Bray (see Provenance).
Written in Northern France, possibly in Amiens, in the third quarter of the
15th century. Arms of original owner appear to be overpainted (f. 1r); present
arms are those of the Crevecoeur family (gules, 3 chevrons or). One of its
members, Jacques Crevecoeur, was knight of the Toison d'Or between 1431 and
1435 (we thank O. Paecht for this information). One of the titles of the head
of the Crevecoeur family in the 15th century was Seigneur d'Onsembray (Dict.
de la noblesse, v. 6, p. 503; see below). Faded note, s. xvi-xvii, below
border on f. 1r, visible under ultra-violet light: "Je suis a Monsieur Louis
conte de Gand." Bound in the late 18th century for comte L. L. Pajot
d'Ons-en-Bray (1678-1754); his arms stamped in gold on cover (argent, a
chevron azure with 3 eagles' heads sable, erased; beneath an earl's crown).
Belonged to Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934; MS 12). Sold by a member of
the Rothschild family (Paris, Palais Galliera, 24 June 1968, no. 6).
Purchased from H. P. Kraus in 1968, as the gift of Edwin J. Beinecke.
secundo folio: lassez et
Bibliography: Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 243-45, no. 68, pl. 24 (f. 1r).
The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages
exhib. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975) p. 161, no. 177, with illus.
(f. 1r), and p. 68 (f. 16r).
G. E. Hutchinson, "Zoological Iconography in the West after A. D. 1200,"
American Scientist 66 (1978) p. 677, fig. 3.
Barbara A. Shailor