PHILIPPE DE VIGNEULLES
La Chanson de Geste de Garin Le Loherain
In French, illuminated manuscript on paper
With three full-page miniatures and three historiated initials
France, Metz, c. 1515-1527/28
From a noble French collection, this is the unique copy of a medieval epic with extensive autograph corrections and additions. Epic is an important genre of poetry, sung aloud, that dates from the dawn of medieval French literature. By an author from Metz in eastern France, Philippe de Vigneulles (1471-1527/28), the manuscript translates into prose the story of an epic hero Garin “the Lotharingian” that takes place in lower Lorraine, the very heartland of the Franco-German Empire at the height of its power. This is surely a presentation copy, and it includes wonderfully animated full-page miniatures and fine calligraphic pen work initials. The only other known copy of Philippe’s text was destroyed in 1944, when many of the treasures of the Bibliothèque municipale de Metz (MS 847) were set on fire by retreating German troops.