Item Details

Call Number: MS Hunter 36 (T.1.4)
Title: Vita Christi
Images: [ MS Hunter 36 fol. 1r ] [ MS Hunter 36 fol. 55v ]
Date of Creation: Between 1399 and 1499
Level of Description: Item
Part of MS Hunter 1-658
Content: Ludolphi de Saxonia, Vita Christi. Gallice. Vol. I. (Guillaume le Ménard, Vie de Jésus-Christ.)
Ludolphus of Saxony's Life of Christ. Translated into French by Guillaume le Ménard. Vol. I.
1. Dedication to Charles VIII. and Table of Contents:
Begins (1, 1 recto col. a, lines 1-10, near the bottom of a pictured page, for which see Remarks): Au roy tres chretien Charles | viije [huitiesme] de ce nom | I [illuminated initial] hesus filz de | dieu le vif et | seconde perso | ne en la trini | te par lequel | le pere a cree | toutes choses | interrogue des Juifz vne fois en. |
Ends (1, 3 verso col. a, line 35): De la guarison du lepreux | Chapitre . xlj folio ixxxxvj [196].
2. Author's Preface:
Begins (2, 1 [fol. j.] recto col. a, lines 1-6, near the bottom of a pictured page, for which see Remarks): L [illuminated initial] Apostre saint paul | dit que a nul edi | fice spirituel peut | on mettre fonde | ment aultre que | celuy qui est mis. |
Ends (2, 7 [fol. vij.] verso col. b, line 20): se deseruir estre salue Amen.
3. The Life of Christ:
Begins (2, 7 [fol. vij.] verso col. b, lines 21-25): de la diuine et eternelle gene | ration de iesu crist Chapitre i [rubric] | T [illuminated initial] Ous desirans et con | voitans de puisser.
Ends (26, 8 [fol. cc.] verso col. a, line 20): gloire de paradis Amen.
Remarks: The catalogue of M. Filheul's books (Hunt. Mus. Library, Press Mark Q. 6. 16.) refers to this MS. at page 4.
See also M. Paul Meyer, Documents Manuscrits de l'Ancienne Littérature de la France, Paris, 1871, p. 113,... magnifique exemplaire de la Vita Christi de Ludolphe le chartreux. C'était le numéro 126 du catalogue Gaignat: il fut payé 220 livres.
De Bure's Bibliographie Instructive (1763) describes this work as then in the collection of M. Gaignat, which was sold in 1769. From this source we discover what the original binding was.
Ludolphus (Ludolf) was a Saxon who became first a Dominican friar and then a Carthusian, and was, about 1330, Prior of Strassburg.
A loose title slip (modern) between ii, 2 and iii, 1 gives the date of this MS. as 'between 1363 and 1380 A.D.' (!). At the same place a loose folio sheet of paper contains in an XVIII. Cent. hand some account of this work and its author.
On the recto of iii, 1 in bold contemporary hand: Le premier volume de | vita christi | pour le Roy.
On the verso of fol. 204, immediately under the text, is a crimson heart bearing a gilt monogram (defaced), which, however, has set off on the recto of iv, 1 and perhaps might be restored thence. Dr. James notes: "Doubtless the presentation copy to Charles VIII. (d. 1498)."
In fol. A recto the whole page, excepting a few lines, is filled with a richly-bordered picture containing the arms of France (azure), three fleurs-de-lys (or), crested with the French crown and supported by kneeling angels. The fleur-de-lys enters into the design of this and of every border throughout the work. The picture (9 3/8 x 6 5/8) represents the king crowned and kneeling in a chapel with folded hands at a prie-Dieu covered with a blue cloth embroidered with golden fleurs-de-lys, and bearing an open book, while an ecclesiastic, in a close-sleeved surplice over a cloth-of-gold talar, and with a fold (hood?) of the same material over his left shoulder, leans his right elbow on the prie-Dieu and appears to receive the confession of the king, who wears a gold order-chain, crimson doublet and black velvet slashed-sleeved mantle trimmed with sable. An attendant, whose furred cap lies on the floor behind, kneels on one knee, with a blue-bound and clasped gilt-edged volume. In the background, in front of an altar with riddles, two candles and, suspended over it, a ciborium, stand three cardinals, robed, hatted and gloved. Besides these are five other richly dressed persons all capped.
Fol. 1 recto has a similarly ornamented page. The picture (9 3/4 x 6 3/8) represents the author a shaved, tonsured figure in a grey monkish habit and cowl, seated on a canopied chair at a desk on which is a prayer written in white characters on a gilt-lined crimson ground: O Sire | Jesus Christ | filz de | Dieu le | vif donne | a moy | misericordiam, and in the act of crossing himself as he gazes up at a large crucifix on which the nearly life-size image of the bleeding Saviour is extended. To the right of this a spear and a lance, with a sponge on its point, lean against the wall. On the left is a blue pillar with scourges affixed. A high book-shelf holds four volumes; three others bound and clasped like these lie on the floor.
Fol. 36 verso is similarly floreated; the picture (6 5/8 x 6 3/8) representing Christ's genealogy from Adam, an aged man lying asleep on his right side, in cap and girdled gown of brown shot with gold, ermine cape, and ermine-lined slate and gold mantle on a bed in the foreground of a landscape. Out of his side grows a serpentine tree stem, which bifurcates and bears (issuing from lily-shaped flowers), nine similarly dressed figures of crowned kings and others, the two branches terminating respectively in S. Joseph and the Virgin and Child.
Fol. 44 recto is another floreated page with picture (7 1/8 x 6 3/4) of the Nativity. The B.V. Mary, in blue kirtle and jewelled clasp, nimbed (left), and S. Joseph, cap in hand, in slate and gold sleeved robe and brown mantle (right), adore the infant Jesus, nude and nimbed, lying on His back on a sheet spread on the litter and surrounded by rays of glory, while a red ox and a black ass kneel behind, and above two angels support a scroll inscribed with words and musical notes: Gloria in altissimis deo et in ter.
Fol. 55 verso is also floreated with a picture (7 1/8 x 6 5/8) of the Epiphany. The Virgin, dressed as in fol. 44, but with white wimple, on her lap the infant Jesus touches a casket of gold pieces presented by the first of the three kings (Caspar), his crown on the ground. The second king (Balthasar) kneeling holds his in his left, and offers on bended knee with his right a boat-shaped stand, while the third (Melchior) stands crowned, holding a staff in his left and a ciborium in his right. The stable is almost identical with that on fol. 44, only the background shows Jerusalem in the distance. The star shines upon the Holy Child. The first king has an ermine cape over his brown and gold habit, the second and third, deep lace or embroidery collars, the two former have long sleeved robes, the third, a beardless youth (?a portrait of Charles VIII.), has blue hose turned over with brown and gold, crimson trunks, a short tabard-like tunic over a green damask sleeved doublet and short blue and gold embroidered cloak.
Fol. 62 verso is a floreated page with picture (6 5/8 x 6 5/8) of the Presentation in the Temple. The B.V. Mary, dressed as before and nimbed, kneels at the altar with a towel hanging over her hands. The infant Jesus, in the arms of the white-mitred high priest, turns to her, while a turbaned attendant, with an usher's rod, received the offering, brought by the Virgin's attendant, a young woman in yellow turban and brown and gold bodice and kirtle, of a long candle lighted (in her right) and a basket containing two white doves (in her left). Round the inverted cone of the altar ciborium is inscribed: PVRIFICATIO BEATE MARIE.
Floreated borders and vignettes are found on the following folios:
f. 10 verso col. b. The Nativity of the B.V. Mary.
f. 15 recto col. b. The Espousals of the B.V. Mary.
f. 17 verso col. b. The Angel and Zacharias.
f. 20 recto col. b. The Annunciation.
f. 31 verso col. a. The Birth of John the Baptist.
f. 40 recto col. b. S. Joseph asleep, an Angel points to the B.V. Mary seated reading.
f. 52 verso col. b. The Circumcision.
f. 70 recto col. a. The Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt.
f. 74 recto col. b. The Return of the Holy Family.
f. 76 verso col. a. Christ and the Doctors.
f. 81 verso col. b. The B.V. Mary weaves, Jesus reading at her feet.
f. 85 recto col. a. John the Baptist baptises kneeling converts.
f. 91 recto col. a. John the Baptist preaches.
f. 94 verso col. a. John the Baptist declares his office.
f. 98 recto col. b. Illustration of Penance and Prayer.
f. 105 recto col. a. John Baptistes Christ (nude) in Jurdan, on whom descend the Divine glory and a white dove. An Angel holds a robe as a screen (by a later hand).
f. 110 recto col. b. The Three Scenes of the Temptation.
f. 118 verso col. a. John preaching points out Christ.
f. 121 verso col. a. The Calling of the Twelve.
f. 123 verso col. a. The Miracle at Cana.
f. 127 verso col. a. Expulsion of Money-changers from the Temple.
f. 131 recto col. a. Herod imprisons John the Baptist.
f. 132 verso col. b. Jesus preaches Repentance.
f. 134 verso col. a. The Miraculous Draught.
f. 137 verso col. a. Jesus commissions the Apostles to preach.
f. 140 recto col. b. Jesus calls S. Matthew.
f. 144 recto col. b. Jesus selects the Twelve.
f. 147 recto col. a. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.
f. 153 recto col. b. Jesus instructs S. Peter and the other Apostles.
f. 159 recto col. b. Illustration of Almsgiving (to wandering beggars).
f. 164 verso col. b. Jesus teaches His Apostles.
f. 168 recto col. a. Mitred and gloved bishop copies from a book on a revolving desk.
f. 174 verso col. a. Illustration of Heavenly and Earthly Treasure.
f. 180 verso col. b. Jesus teaches His Apostles.
f. 188 recto col. b. Jesus concludes His Sermon on the Mount.
f. 196 verso col. b. Jesus cures the Leper.
[Formerly R.2.8; R.2.17].
N.L.S. Treasures of Scottish libraries, x, 9.
Ludolphe de Saxe. Vita Christi.
Glasgow University, Hunterian ms. 36 (T.1.4).
Parchemin; 204 f.; 390 x 268 mm.; France, fin XVe siècle; Reliure: XIXe siècle, veau fauve sur carton (remplaçant la reliure originelle: ais recouverts de velours pourpre). Planche 22.
Premier des quatre volumes d'un manuscrit de la Vita Christi de Ludolphe de Saxe, traduite en français par le Franciscain Guillaume le Ménard. L'ouvrage est dédié à Charles VIII de France (mort en 1498); selon M.R. James, ce manuscrit était l'exemplaire destiné à être offert au roi. La première miniature représente le roi couronné et agenouillé dans une chapelle; la seconde, l'auteur. L'ouvrage contient également une série d'excellentes miniatures illustrant les événements de la vie du Christ. Le motif de la fleur de lys qui apparaît dans l'encadrement de la miniature de Charles VIII, réapparaît d'un bout à l'autre des quatre volumes.
Ludolphe de Saxe, successivement dominicain et chartreux, devint prieur de la chartreuse de Coblence en 1343. Cette traduction fut imprimée plusieurs fois avant 1501.
Le manuscrit fut acheté par Hunter à la vente Gaignat en 1769.
Bibl.: De Bure 126; Young & Aitken, Catalogue, p. 38-41.
(Brussels catalogue, 1963).
Ludolf de Saxony. Vita Christi.
Glasgow University. Hunterian Library, MS. 36 (T.1.4).
Parchment, 204 ff., 390 x 268 mm. France, s. xv2.
The first of four volumes of a manuscript of the Vita Christi of Ludolf of Saxony, translated into French by Guillaume le Ménard, a Franciscan. The work is dedicated to Charles VIII of France (d. 1498), and it is very probable that this is the copy intended for presentation to the king. The first miniature represents the king crowned and kneeling in a chapel; the second, the author. The work also contains a series of excellent miniatures illustrating events in the life of Christ. The fleur de lys motif which appears in the border of the miniature of Charles VIII recurs throughout the four volumes of the work. The text is written in French bastard script.
Ludolf of Saxony, successively a Dominican and a Carthusian, became prior of a Charterhouse at Coblenz in 1343. This translation was printed several times before 1501.
Bought by Hunter at the Gaignat sale in 1769.
Physical Description: Bound volume.
Vellum, 15½ x 10 5/8, ff. 204, evenly written in French hand, in double cols. of 47 lines, each 10 5/8 x 3 1/8, signatures almost entirely cropped off, catchwords mostly cropped off, rubricated headlines and foliation, (contemporary), beginning 2, 1 recto, numerous exquisite illuminations, half-page pictures and vignettes, floreated pages and borders, illuminated initials, coloured capitals and paragraph marks, rubrics, ruled and margined with red, fine vellum, fol. sec. pays celeste. End of Cent. XV.
Binding: Modern millboards, (replacing original wooden boards covered with crimson velvet), covered fawn calf, blind-tooled edges, sides and back, view of old Hunterian Museum (gilt), lettered: MUSEUM HUNTERIANUM GLASGUENSE. Title (gilt) on crimson and black morocco shields: VITA | CHRISTI | TOM. | I. | Blue edges stamped (?) gold fleurs-de-lys. Early Cent. XIX.
[For detailed collation see: John Young and P. Henderson Aitken, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of The Hunterian Museum in The University of Glasgow. (Glasgow, 1908), p. 38.]
Access: Temporarily unavailable for consultation: at exhibition until February 2019.
Language: French
Material Type: Document
Notes: This manuscript has been exhibited on the following occasions: 'Treasures of Scottish Libraries', National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1961; 'Trésors des Bibliothèques d'Ecosse', Brussels, 1963; 'Treasures from Scottish libraries', Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1964; 'The Glory of the Page', Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 1987-Jan. 1988, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb.-Apr. 1988, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Jun.-Aug. 1988, Burrell Collection, Glasgow, Nov. 1988-Jan. 1989; 'The Magic of the Middle Ages, Part 1: Sacred Manuscripts', Glasgow University Library, 21 April-30 July 1994.
Bibliography: G.F de Bure, Supplément à la Bibliographie instructive, ou catalogue des livres du cabinet de feu M. Louis Jean Gaignat (Paris 1769), no. 126; National Library of Scotland, Treasures of Scottish libraries: catalogue (Edinburgh, 1961), x, 9; Nigel Thorp, The glory of the page (London, 1987), no. 60; Treasures from Scottish libraries: catalogue of an exhibition held in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin (Edinburgh, 1964), no. 50; Trésors des bibliothèques d'Ecosse (Brussels, 1963), no. 41; J. Wardrop, 'Western illuminated manuscripts in the Hunterian Library, Glasgow University', Apollo, vol. 14 (1930), pp. 255-258; John Young & P.H. Aitken, A catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1908), pp 38-41; Folio 31v used to illustrate Marie-Christine Lafon, 'Nativité de saint jean baptiste, La Nöel d'été', in Famille Chrétienne, No 1483 (Paris, June 2006), p64.
Accession Number: 2482
See details of how this material was acquired
Repository Code: GB 0247

Names associated with this item:

author: Ludolf of Saxony c.1300-1377/8
Ludolphus de Saxonia.
dedicatee: Charles VIII King Of France fl.1470-1498
exhibition: Glory of the Page 1987-1989
Exhibition of medieval manuscripts from Glasgow University Library: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 1987-Jan. 1988, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb.-Apr. …
exhibition: Magic of the Middle Ages 1994-1995
Exhibition: The Magic of the Middle Ages: Manuscript Treasures of Glasgow University Library. Part 1: Sacred Manuscripts, Glasgow University Library, 21 April-30 …
exhibition: Treasures from Scottish Libraries 1964
Exhibition, Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1964.
exhibition: Treasures of Scottish Libraries 1961
Exhibition, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1961.
exhibition: Trésors des Bibliothèques d'Ecosse 1963
Exhibition, Brussels, 1963.
provenance: Filheul
provenance: Louis Jean Gaignat 1697-1768
Secretary to Louis XV of France. His extensive library was sold in 1769.
translator: Guillaume Le Ménard
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