Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Royal Breviary Of Saint Louis Of Poissy Is Up For Sale.

Article is taken from MEDIEVAL HISTORIES

King Philippe IV Prays to Saint Louis.

Classified as a “National Treasure”, in 2014, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) is trying to raise the funds to buy the Royal Breviary of Saint-Louis of Poissy.

This Breviary was presented to the Abbey at Poissy, France, by the French King, Philippe IV (Philippe le Bel), who had it made in honour of his grandfather, Saint Louis. Written and illuminated between 1310 – 1315, it was a present to Marie de Clermont-Bourbon, another of the Saint’s grandchildren, who lived at the Priory in Poissy from the age of four.

Pretender to the French Throne since 1989.
One of several current Capetian Pretenders.
Français: Louis XX, duc d'Anjou, héritier du trône de France,
portant la plaque de chevalier de l'Ordre du Saint-Esprit.
Photo: 27 January 2014.
Source: Own work.
Author: Maclauren.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Breviary was designed to promote the cult of Saint Louis and contains the Texts appropriate for the Celebrations of the Royal Saint. Thus, it contains The Liturgy of The Feast of Saint Louis on the Feast Day (25 August).

The Breviary consists of 600 sheets of parchment. The binding is from the 16th-Century.It measures 176 x 115 mm and is illustrated by Richard de Verdun (also known as the Maîtra de Jean Papealu). Among his extant works are a historical Bible (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal) and five Bibles preserved in Paris (BnF), Berlin (Deutsche Staatsbibliothek), London (British Library), Harvard (Houghton Library) and at Lisbon (Fondation Goulbekian). He was a disciple of Maître Honoré.

Breviary of Saint Louis de Poissy (circa 1310 – 1315).
The Crown of Thorns.
Photo: Christie’s/ Anna Buklovska.

The Breviary testifies to the importance of Poissy as the centre of the cult of The Capetian Dynasty and their Royal Saint, Saint Louis. It belongs to a group of other important Manuscripts from the same milieu; the Breviary of Philippe IV, made by Maître Honoré, and the Belleville Breviary, painted by Jean Purcelle between 1323 – 1326, both kept at BnF. Part of the picture-programme in The Royal Breviary of Saint-Louis, from Poissy, is echoed in The Belleville Breviary, which is later. The importance for BnF, of the present Manuscript, is the way in which it can be used to trace the relationship and artistic collaboration in the Royal Workshop of Philippe IV.

Some of the Illuminations record the events of the life of Saint Louis (Saint-Louis feeds a leper; as a prisoner of the Muslims, etc.). Thus, it also preserves one of the very earliest Illustrations of the Relics, which Saint Louis acquired for Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, among which was The Crown of Thorns. Another story-line is the establishment of the cult of Saint-Louis and The Translation of his Relics to the Basilica of Saint-Denis, Paris.

It is possible to donate funds to BnF until 27 November 2015. Frenchmen, who donate, will receive a tax reduction of 66%. The price is set at Euro 1 million. It is currently in private possession.


Le bréviaire royal de Saint-Louis de Poissy

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