Les Voeux du Paon

Collection History

The New York Public Library possesses one of the largest and finest collections of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts in North America, yet its manuscript holdings are scarcely known to scholars, much less to a wide public audience. Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts are vehicles of the collective memory of western European culture, and provide a material connection between the scribes, illuminators, and patrons who produced these works and the audiences who view them today.

The works represent diverse genres, from Bibles and missals to romance literature and science texts. Dating from the turn of the 10th century until well into the period of the Renaissance, these works give vivid testimony to the creative impulses of the often nameless craftsmen who continually discovered new ways of animating the contents of hand-produced books through inventive and sometimes exuberant manipulations of all the elements of the book: form and format, layout, script, decoration, illustration, and binding.

Drawn from the Library's Spencer Collection and the Manuscripts and Archives Division, these works focus on the 9th through the 16th centuries -- seven hundred years of profound political, ecclesiastical, social, and intellectual change in Western Europe and the world. Among these rare items are a 10th-century Ottonian manuscript, with its imitation of Byzantine textile with gold decoration; the Towneley Lectionary, illuminated by Giulio Clovio (once praised as the "Michelangelo of small works"), which originated in Rome and probably belonged to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese; and a late 15th-century Book of Hours, which represents the leading style of illumination from Besançon, one of the French Regional Schools.


"The Digital Scriptorium" originated in the mid-1990s as an image database, intended to unite scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. NYPL curators have augmented the Digital Scriptorium's primary documentation of NYPL's contribution of 259 manuscript parts with images of the works' most significant illuminations. Some works in this digital presentation also appeared in the exhibition, "The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library," held October 21, 2005 - February 12, 2006 in the Library's D. Samuel and Jeane H. Gottesman Exhibition Hall.

- Collection History and Background text excerpted from the press release and exhibition catalog descriptions for "The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library."

Related Resources

Alexander, Jonathan J. G., James H. Marrow, and Lucy Freeman Sandler. The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library. (2005)

NYPL. "The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library." (2005-2006) <http://www.nypl.org/research/calendar/exhib/hssl/hsslexhibdesc.cfm?id=354>

University of California, Berkeley. "The Digital Scriptorium." (c1996-2004) <http://www.digital-scriptorium.org>

Collection Data

Jacques, de Longuyon, fl. 1290-1312 (Author)
Heytesbury, William, active 1340 (Author)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1350 (Approximate)
Place: France, probably Belgium
Library locations
Spencer Collection
Shelf locator: Spencer Coll. MS. 9
Jacques, de Longuyon, active 1290-1312. Voeux du paon
Illumination of books and manuscripts
Manuscripts, French -- New York (State) -- New York
Heytesbury, William, active 1340. On \"insoluble\" sentences. English
Manuscripts -- France -- 13th century
Manuscripts -- England -- 13th century
Miniatures (Illuminations) -- France -- 14th century
Morocco bindings (Binding) -- United States -- 1921
Miniatures (Illuminations)
illuminated manuscripts
Citation/reference: The Splendor of the Word. (ed.) J. G. Alexander, J. H. Marrow, L. F. Sandler (NYPL / Harvey Miller, 2005), n. 90.
Citation/reference: Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. Seymour de Ricci. (Wilson Co., New York, 1937), p. 1337, no. 9. Library dossier. Chart by Dr. G.B. Guest.
Content: Composed ca. 1310, possibly at the instigation of Thiebaut de Bar, Bishop of Liege, to whom it is dedicated--a late addition to the Alexander cycle, adding two features: the vow on the bird, and the theme of the Nine Worthies.
Content: First and last pages are modern brown endpapers. The other six added leaves are old vellum additions, containing various unidentified texts.
Content: Layout: Written in two columns, 42 lines per page in two columns. Ruled in drypoint, some prickmarks and catchwords visible. One quire of seven leaves, followed by four quires of eight apiece and two quires of six apiece.
Content: Decoration: 81 miniatures with orange-red or mauve background, all but one oblong, drawn in pen. 6-line and 3-line initials in blue with red penwork.
Content: f. iii r-v (front); ff. i-ii verso (back) the text of William Heytesbury, Sophismata, is included. Also, ff. i-ii verso and iv verso, signatures, coat of arms and grammatical texts in Latin; 4 lines of verse in Welsh (f. i verso); f. iv recto, a veterinary text in English.
Preferred citation: NYPL. Spencer Collection MS. 9
Ownership: Arundell (ca. 1500); George Manners; Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt; William Maurice; John Owen; Thomas Johns escuier; Pargner de Wythley; Roos; Griffith Wynne; Lord Mostyn (sale, 1920); G. Wells; Sir Thomas Phillipps (Sotheby's, 30 Nov. 1965 pp. 45-8).
Content: Listed in Digital Scriptorium, University of California, Berkeley.
Physical Description
Vellum (parchment)
Extent: 53 leaves, bound : parchment , ink, manuscript, illuminations ; 310 x 200 mm
Extent: Ff. iv + 51 + iii
Morocco bindings
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b22819842
RLIN/OCLC: 1336941116
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): b6225d30-c6b2-012f-6e30-3c075448cc4b
Show filters Hide filters
19 results found