Discover our Text Manuscripts website: Intro video
Every medieval manuscript was made and decorated by hand for a particular purpose at a certain moment in history. To hold and to turn the pages of a manuscript is to touch hands directly with medieval Europe. Les Enluminures offers the largest and most wide-ranging inventory of text manuscripts currently on the market.
PSEUDO-AUGUSTINUS, Sermones ad fratres in eremo
This is an excellent example of a late medieval codex copied by an identified scribe for his personal use. Its distinctive mercantesca script, lack of decoration, and sturdy original binding set it apart from contemporary humanist manuscripts, whether owner-produced or made by the commercial book trade. The text, attributed to St. Augustine but certainly a later compilation, was a medieval best seller. Here we find selections from the pseudo-Augustinian collection combined with other texts, perhaps chosen by the scribe, including an apocryphal account of Christ’s appearance.
TM 1087 - RAYMUNDUS DE PENAFORTE, Summa de casibus pœnitentialis
Widely used during the Middle Ages, Penitentials were manuals for confessors, including lists of sins and appropriate penances for them. This one by Raymond of Peñafort was the first to formalize the Catholic sacrament of penance into a rigorous system based on theology and canon law. As such, Raymond’s work became a medieval “bestseller” and was required reading as a textbook at the University of Paris. Its use over centuries is attested to by the donation of this manuscript to the Carthusian monastery of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon by Jean de Montagnac, an important patron of the arts.
Consolatio philosophiae (Consolation of Philosophy)
The most widely copied work of medieval secular literature, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy is nevertheless relatively rare on the market. This volume, lacking the gloss found in many contemporary manuscripts which marks them as schoolbooks, was perhaps copied for the humanist scribe’s own use in or near Venice in the last quarter of the fifteenth century. Still in its original modest wooden binding with intentionally exposed boards, it represents an opportunity to acquire a complete manuscript of the greatest philosophical work of the Middle Ages.
Printed Book of Hours (use of Rome)
Printing made it easy to duplicate images and pass them down to successive generations. This attractive Horae, printed more than a century after Gutenberg, offers a fascinating glimpse of commerce in the print industry and the evolution of artistic taste. Thielman Kerver the Younger inherited his famous father’s material. He also bought the designs (or woodblocks) from the printer Geoffroy Tory, favored by the royal court. This edition combines old-style Paris taste of the elder Kerver with Tory’s innovative Italo-Flemish designs.
TM 333 - Carthusian Rules and Sermons for Visitation
This intact manuscript its original binding includes the Carthusian Rules for the Visitation of Monasteries, together with sermons for Visitations. The formality of this copy of the Statutes reflects how fundamental the system of Visitations was to the success of the Carthusian Order. Historians of the Order will be particularly interested in the apparently unedited and uncommon Visitation sermons as well as by the record of a Visitation of the Charterhouse of St. John the Evangelist at Calci near Pisa in 1534. Such manuscripts survive as customized records of a particular moment in a foundation’s history.
Sermons, including THOMAS AQUINAS
This is an extensive and early Franciscan or Dominican sermon manuscript, together with sermon exempla and texts related to confession. The ninety-three sermons probably by Thomas Aquinas, and ninety-six other sermons, all but a small handful by unknown authors and identified only in this manuscript, make this a manuscript of considerable scholarly importance. Datable to the third quarter of the thirteenth century, this manuscript was likely copied while the authors of many of these texts, including Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), were still alive.
TM 908 - Haimo of Auxerre
Still in need of a revised critical edition, this manuscript contains a copy of the most notable of the exegetical commentaries by Haimo of Auxerre, a key figure of the Carolingian Renaissance. Beautifully illuminated, the manuscript boasts an illustrious provenance having belonged to or even originally been commissioned by Jean II Budé, father to the famous humanist-bibliophile Guillaume Budé. The miniature added at a slightly later date (some 20 or 30 years after) must have been painted in Troyes, where the Budé family had strong ties.
TM 941 - Vulgate Bible
This is among the smallest examples known of the Paris “pocket” Bible. One tiny volume contains the entire biblical text, copied in a minute script on tissue-thin parchment and adorned with small painted initials, including five that are historiated. Its text belongs to the recension known as the Paris Bible, the direct ancestor of the sixteenth-century Clementine Vulgate. Although not in pristine condition, this is nonetheless an excellent example of a type of Bible of great importance both to the history of the Vulgate and to the history of the book in the Middle Ages.
TM 1094 - Statutes of the Order of the Garter
An exquisite piece of Elizabethan penmanship and artistry in almost pristine condition. The Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is one of the oldest Chivalric Orders in Europe.
TM 1088 - Pseudo Pliny De viris illustribus urbis Romae
Widely read by the Italian humanists of the fifteenth century, this short history of Rome affirms the humanist desire to resurrect a glorified Roman past.
TM 1054 - Jacobus Folquerius’s Viridarium Gregoriana
A New Testament commentary, Jacobus Folquerius’s Viridarium Gregoriana, mined from many of Gregory the Great’s works, drawing occasionally on Alulfus of Tournai’s Gregorialis.
TM 1124 - Ethiopian Psalter in Ge'ez
Ethiopian manuscripts are remarkable products of a living scribal culture that has survived from Antiquity until today. Their bindings often preserve structures similar to early Christian books from the fourth to the seventh centuries.
TM 1081 - The Epistles of Phalaris
The Italian humanists were fascinated by this collection of fictional letters by the monstrous Sicilian tyrant, Phalaris, famous for torturing his enemies inside a bronze bull and eating human babies. In keeping with the established tradition in Ancient Greece of epistolary fiction, these letters are a literary creation by a yet unknown author.
1. TM 1139: One sheet, and a small portion of the following one, from the beginning of a popular universal chronicle, once part of a long illustrated scroll, of which other fragments are known in public and private collections. 2. TM 1064: This one, a genealogical roll of arms or pedigree scroll, is modeled on genealogical rolls of the late medieval kings of England and represents a type that functioned as an important record of a family’s status, asserting and affirming the family’s identity over time. 3. TM 1082: A fascinating window into the practicalities of marriage in early modern France, this roll records in considerable detail the exchange of property – dresses and clothes, jewelery and silvery, and land – that that took place to enable the marriage of a French noble couple.
TM 1107 - Prayer Book
Noteworthy for its careful script and illuminated miniatures and initials, this securely localized Prayer Book contains a rich collection of texts that illustrate personal devotion at the end of the Middle Ages, and evidence of active for a century.
TM 1084 - Processional Dominican Use
Many Processionals were made for the use of nuns. Those from the convent of St.-Louis at Poissy, home to sisters of royalty and the author Christine de Pizan, are among the best known. This example is fascinating.
TM 1011 - Catalan Medical Manuscript
Medical manuscripts are rare; those in uncommon vernaculars are even more scarce. The present volume includes a Catalan translation of selected texts from the Ars Medicinae -- including a synthesis of essential works by Galen.
TM 994 Choir Book with Selected Texts for the Mass and Office
Books composed with stencils occupy an interesting, and relatively unstudied, mid-ground between manuscripts and printing with movable type. This is a curious example, and one that has the added advantage of including richly illuminated initials.
TM 87 - Jerome
Attractively written manuscript in pocket format and with clean wide margins of Saint Jerome’s lives of Paul, Malchus, and Hilarion, writings of considerable narrative charm which exercised an enormous impact on later hagiographic literature and which continued to be widely read throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.
TM 514 - German prayer book
This manuscript unites four copies of printed, though rare, Protestant texts: a devotional work on the Eucharist with a Prayerbook, a historical work on the origins of the confessional conflict accompanied by Martin Luther’s sermon for Good Friday 1522, a German translation of a Eucharistic treatise by the Carolingian theologian Ratramnus of Corbie, and a guide to reading the Bible during the calendar year.
TM 563 - HENRICUS SUSO, Horologium Sapientiae
The Horologium sapientiae by the Dominican mystic Henricus Suso was one of the most popular devotional texts of the later Middle Ages. Its emphasis on the Passion of Christ and its critique of the failings of the contemporary Church explains its appeal with both clerics and lay men and women associated with the Devotio moderna.
TM 644 - Office of the Dead
Relatively large in format, this carefully written and decorated liturgical manuscript from the important church of St. Kunibert in Cologne was used daily by the canons for the liturgy associated with death and burial.
TM 771 - Confessional
The text in this manuscript, one of the most important confessional manuals of the Middle Ages, is here condensed into a convenient and practical guide for the instruction of inexperienced confessors.
TM 935 - JEROME, Letter LIV To Furia
Owned by a woman of the French aristocracy, Anne de Polignac, this deluxe, carefully fashioned manuscript presents a unique copy of a French translation by a hitherto unknown translator of Saint Jerome’s letter to the widow Furia.
TM 976 - BARTHOLOMAEUS DE CHAIMIS, Confessionale
Although tiny and compact like many miscellanies used by the mendicant friars, this manuscript was an expensive production.
TM 973 - Vulgate Bible
This is an unusually large format, impressive Bible of considerable scholarly importance and undoubtedly of English origin. Bibles from the early thirteenth century are much less common than the well-known examples from after c. 1230, and examples from this time period from England are less common than those from France.
TM 893 - German Prayer Book
This small volume is the personal Prayer Book of an individual nun, a member of a convent in eastern Swabia and shows evidence of intensive reading by the nun at prayer.
TM 751 - Noted Antiphonal (Franciscan Use)
This modern Antiphonal was carefully copied, and includes the same square notation on four-line staves found in medieval music manuscripts since the thirteenth century.
TM 949 - Hugo de Folieto De Claustro Animae
This stately volume, with large accomplished script and decorated red initials, is an unstudied addition to a group of North Italian copies of an influential treatise on the monastic life by a twelfth-century author
TM 1029 - The Bembo Jerome, Epistolae
This grand humanist copy of the Letters of Saint Jerome once belonging to Bernardo Bembo (1433-1519), a Venetian nobleman, important humanist, and envoy to the court of Lorenzo de’ Medici with marginal notes and maniculae in his own hand.
TM 1037 - Pseudo-Cicero, De proprietatibus terminorum or De differentiae verborum
Slightly smaller than a modern paperback, this handy little reference book – a kind of antecedent to Roget’s Thesaurus – includes distinctions between words of similar meanings or synonyms.
TM 849 - Miscellany featuring St. Bernard, Bonaventure, and Pseudo-Augustine
This small-format miscellany contains texts to nourish the religious life, both practically and spiritually. The Sermons to the Brothers in the Desert (attributed to Augustine, but composed many centuries after his death), and the Soliloquy by St. Bonaventure were medieval bestsellers.
The Singer and the Scholar
On the occasion of "The Singer and the Scholar" concert held at Les Enluminures, New York on 6th Feb 2014, Anne Azéma (Director of the Boston Camerata) sings from a selection of medieval manuscripts on display in the "Sacred Song" exhibition (January 24th- February 21st 2014)
Paths to Reform: Highlights
Dr Sandra Hindman discusses highlights from the exhibition, "Paths to Reform: Things New and Old," including texts associated with the "Devotio Moderna", a rare near-miniature New Testament in its original red leather binding, and an illuminated page of Luther and the swan.