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16th-century manuscript containing the 'Vie de saint Louis' of Jean de Joinville.

Identifier: Adv.MS.15.1.16

Scope and Contents

Manuscript produced in France containing the Life of Saint Louis by Jean de Joinville. The work was probably written circa 1550, certainly after 1547. It appears to be a presentation copy, with the text corresponding to the 1547 edition by Antoine Pierre de Rieux. As in the printed edition, the main text of the manuscript is introduced by prefaces by Antoine Pierre de Rieux and Guillaume de La Perrière.

The text is the work of one hand, written in a gothic littera bastarda script with 32 to 34 lines to a page.

The contents are as follows:

Antoine Pierre de Rieux, Preface. Folio 1rv.

Guillaume de La Perrière, Preface. Folios 2r-3v.

Jean de Joinville, Life of Saint Louis. Folios 3v-94r.

The manuscript contains several decorative initials. The initials are gold on backgrounds of either red or blue, relieved with gold tracery. The initials on folios 1r and 4r are more intricate. These initials are floriated, coloured blue and relieved with white tracery, on backgrounds of gold. The rubrics and chapter headings are in red.

Each folio has been lined in red recto and verso.


  • Creation: Circa 1550.


Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


1 Volumes ; 38cm x 29cm x 5.3cm

Language of Materials

French, Middle (ca.1400-1600)


i + 94 folios, as well as two modern paper flyleaves to the front and two modern paper flyleaves to the rear.

Collation as recorded by Catherine Borland: a-l⁸, m⁶, n⁴

Custodial History

There appear to be no marks of ownership in the volume.

The manuscript was bought by the Faculty of Advocates from Gavin Hamilton, Edinburgh bookseller, on 13th February 1738 for £2.2.0.

There are ownership inscriptions for the Faculty of Advocates on folios ir and 4r.

The previous shelfmark assigned to the volume by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates is given on folio ir: 'W.1.4'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.


Borland, C. R. ‘Catalogue of Mediaeval Manuscripts in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh’, 4 Volumes. (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh, 1906-1908). Volume II, folios 417-418.

'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Historical' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [18??]), folio 314. NLS Reference: FR.186.

Joinville, J. de. 'L'histoire et chronique du tres chrestien Roy S. Loys IX. du nom ... maintenant mise en lumiere par Antoine Pierre de Rieux' (Poictiers, 1547).

Natalis De Wailly, M. (ed.) 'Histoire de Saint Louis par Jean Sire de Joinville' (Paris, 1868), pages i-xxv.

Smith, C. (ed. and trans.), 'Joinville and Villehardouin: Chronicles of the Crusades' (St. Ives, 2008), pages xlvi-l.

'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1970), page 11, number 99.

Physical Description


The binding is French red morocco and is possibly of the 17th century. The front and back boards have extensive gold tooling of various shapes and laurel wreath designs.The three edges of the boards also have gold tooling and the edges of the leaves are gilt. The spine has raised bands and extensive gold tooling, as well as a gold-tooled title which reads: 'LA VIE DE S. LOYS'.

Folio i is watermarked with the design of a croissant, not appearing in Briquet.

The manuscript was repaired and boxed by HMSO in November 1965 - March 1966. The repair work probably consisted of rebacking, although retaining much of the original back, and the insertion of the modern flyleaves.

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
Description rules
International Standard for Archival Description - General
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
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