Letter LIV To Furia [To Furia, On the Duty of Remaining a Widow], in the translation by CHARLES BONIN
In French, illuminated manuscript on parchment
France, likely Bourges, c. 1500-1510
1 full-page miniature by the Master of Spencer 6 (active c. 1490 to 1510)
In its original purple velvet binding and adorned with a frontispiece painted by the Master of Spencer 6, this deluxe, carefully fashioned manuscript presents a unique copy of a French translation of Saint Jerome’s letter to the widow Furia by a hitherto unknown translator. Long associated with the library of the aristocratic woman Anne de Polignac, who was widowed twice, the manuscript raises questions pertaining to female book ownership and literary and artistic patronage in the first decades of the sixteenth century. It re-opens an investigation into Anne’s personal library of some thirty-six manuscripts. Her remarkably varied manuscripts, mostly in the vernacular, invite us to reexamine the nature of the reading experiences of French Renaissance women.