Anne Boleyn's Book

Anne Boleyn's Book – DIAMM – MS 1070 – Royal College of Music (London, United Kingdom)

France — 1540

Once belonging to the young Anne Boleyn, the future Queen of England: one of the most important songbooks of Renaissance music in England despite being created in France

  1. Anne Boleyn (ca. 1501–36), second wife of King Henry VIII (1491–1547), was a lover of music and dance

  2. The French songbook at hand came into her possession by unknown means, but bears her name in the inscription

  3. The codex contains 42 compositions from 13 composers with decorative red and blue medallions

Anne Boleyn's Book

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Anne Boleyn's Book

Anne Boleyn is one of the most famous figures of the 16th century, and although she met a tragic end, her daughter Elizabeth went on to become one of the greatest monarchs in English history. This small but beautiful song book bears an inscription with her name, although it clearly originates from France. Anne lived at the French court for years as a girl, it was likely that the manuscript came into her possession sometimes during this period. Nonetheless, musicologists continue to be puzzled by this codex as the exact nature of its connection to the young Anne Boleyn is still unclear.

Anne Boleyn's Book

This modestly-sized but beautifully written book contains sacred motets by some of Europe’s most famous composers, specifically those associated with the French royal court of the early–16th century. An inscription in an English hand reads “M[ist]res A Bolleyene Nowe thus”; that she is styled “mistress” indicates that the inscription was certainly made before Anne Boleyn (ca. 1501–36) became queen in 1533; “nowe thus” was the motto of her father. Despite considerable interest by musicologists in past decades, the book remains something of a mystery because it was clearly made in France, but is associated in a yet-to-be-determined way with second wife of Henry VIII (1491–1547) and mother of Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603). It is one of the most significant books of Renaissance music in Britain and it stored in the Royal College of Music in London under the shelf mark MS 1070. Like many codices of the era, it was rebound in the 19th century, which protects 42 compositions from 13 composers. These are written in a clear, elegant hand with decorative medallions in red and blue.


Alternative Titles
Anne Boleyn's Music Book
Musikbuch von Anne Boley
The Anne Boleyn Music Book
Size / Format
268 pages / 28.7 × 19.0 cm
42 pieces of music by 13 composers
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Anne Boleyn
Robert William Haynes

Available facsimile editions:
Anne Boleyn's Book – DIAMM – MS 1070 – Royal College of Music (London, United Kingdom)
DIAMM – London, 2017
Limited Edition: Not limited
Facsimile Editions

#1 The Anne Boleyn Music Book

DIAMM – London, 2017

Publisher: DIAMM – London, 2017
Limited Edition: Not limited
Commentary: 1 volume by Thomas Schmidt, David Skinner, and Katja Airaksinen-Monier
Language: English
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)
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