Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Rothschild 2973

Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu Facsimile Edition

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Jean de Montchenu, a nobleman, apostolic prothonotary, Bishop of Agen (1477) and later of Viviers (1478-1497), commissioned this codex of medieval Italian and French love songs, living up to his reputation as a gallant.

A surprising and unique format

The closed book is shaped like a heart which opens into a butterfly composed of the hearts of the two lovers who send love messages to one another in each one of the songs. Obviously, the heart shaped manuscript is extremely rare, but this one is even more unusual because, while there are other books that open into the shape of a heart, there are no others like this one which opens into two or which are as beautifully decorated.

The most beautiful love songs

The songs in French and Italian, written for different voices, are the work of some of the finest medieval composers. When the word "heart" appears in the texts, it is represented by a delicate pictogram. Two full-page illustrations appear in the codex. In the first, Cupid throws arrows at a young girl while at his side Fortune spins his wheel. In the other, two lovers approach one another lovingly. Throughout the manuscript, the pentagrams, music and love poems are surrounded by borders, animals, birds, dogs, cats and all kinds of flowers and plants in abundant and delicate gold.

Along with the entire collection received from his father, James de Rothschild, and to which he himself added, Henri de Rothschild donated this book to the National Library of France in a memorable act which took place on 22 March 1933.

Binding description

Heart shaped in blood red velvet.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu": Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu facsimile edition, published by Vicent Garcia Editores, 2007

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Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu

Valencia: Vicent Garcia Editores, 2007

  • Commentary (English, French, German) by Fallows, David
  • Limited Edition: 1380 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.
Leather case, methacrylate exhibitor, cd-audio with selection of songs of the book, and commentary volume.
Facsimile printed on special paper made with the same characteristics as the original.

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