Book of Lovers

Book of Lovers

France — Beginning of the 16th century

Courtly love in the 16th century is illustrated by romantic walks, intimate hugs, and lively dance scenes

  1. Joyful scenes of dancing, romantic walks, and intimate embraces illustrate courtly love in the 16th century

  2. Commissioned in France by the Brosse family, the content is related almost entirely without text

  3. Carefully chosen colors and specifically designated plants and animals represent characteristics or persons

Book of Lovers

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (3)
Description
Book of Lovers

Almost entirely without text, the carefree miniatures in the Book of Lovers tell a captivating love story from the 16th century. The 15 full-page depictions of the manuscript, commissioned in France by the Brosse family, allow the beholder to take part in the joyful scenes of dancing, romantic walks, and intimate embraces and in doing so gives a sweeping insight into courtly life at the time. Matching the miniatures with a painter has not been possible thus far, but its 16th century French origin is fairly certain.

The Book of Lovers

The stirring Book of Lovers tells the story of the Historie d’Amour sans paroles with 15 splendid miniatures. The touching jewel from the late epoch of French illumination was commissioned by the Brosse family and its 30 pages give insight into the feelings and the courtly life of the time. Since the manuscript manages almost entirely without text, twelve gorgeous decorated pages with rich décor and symbols supplement the miniatures and additionally clarify the cycle.

A 16th Century Love Story

The artist, who unfortunately remains unknown, portrayed the love story in 15 episodes altogether, through which he allows the viewer to participate in the intimate relationship. Thus, there are joyful dance scenes, romantic walks through the woods, and intimate embraces. Together, all of the scenes describe the behavior of a couple and their mutual attention before the background of occidental Christianity in a fascinating way.

A Tale without Text

The most unusual characteristic of the delightful manuscript is probably that the artists strictly avoided the use of text. Except for two sentences in the page bordures and an enigmatic sequence of letters in one book, it manages completely without text and tells its story with pictures only. Nevertheless, the artists used other means to make the beholder aware of the special messages: they carefully chose the colors they used in order to create certain moods and designated plants and animals as representatives of certain characteristics or persons.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Histoire d'Amour sans paroles
Buch der Liebenden
Histoire d'Amour sans paroles
Historia de amor sin palabras
Size / Format
30 pages / 20.2 × 13.4 cm
Origin
France
Date
Beginning of the 16th century
Language
Illustrations
28 full-page miniatures including symbolic motifs and heraldic devices
Content
Episodes of a moving love story
Previous Owners
Armand Cigogne
Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822-97)

Available facsimile editions:
Book of Lovers – Ms. 388 – Musée Condé (Chantilly, France)
Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2005
Limited Edition: 500 copies (co-edition)

Das Buch der Liebenden
Limited Edition: 500 copies (co-edition)

Historia de amor sin palabras
Eikon Editores – Madrid, 2005
Limited Edition: 500 copies (co-edition)
Detail Picture

Book of Lovers

Young Lovers Petting Rabbits

Aside from their cuteness, rabbits are famous for their speed and agility as well as their prolific reproduction habits – one mating pair can produce up to 60 new kits a year! As such, they have been a symbol of fertility since antiquity and are one of the more obvious animal metaphors found in this manuscript. Rabbits were domesticated during the Middle Ages but are nonetheless shown here entering and exiting burrows when not being petted or running through the ladies’ skirts.

Histoire d'Amour sans paroles
Single Page

Book of Lovers

Attending a Ball

In a great hall with high ceiling and a green checkerboard floor, Jean III de Brosse and his future wife Louise de Laval, whose love story is artfully presented in this manuscript, walk onto the dance floor as richly dressed young nobles talk among themselves in the background. One of the musicians is playing a stringed instrument with a bow while the other plays a flute and a small drum simultaneously.

Courtly dancing was not an expression of one’s individuality and athleticism but rather an indication that one belonged to the “right” class. They required formal training by a dancing master and were performed as grand and entertaining displays at balls, which were one of the few acceptable venues for young ladies and gentlemen to meet.

Histoire d'Amour sans paroles
Facsimile Editions

#1 Histoire d'Amour sans paroles

Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2005

Publisher: Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2005
Limited Edition: 500 copies (co-edition)
Binding: Green leather with gold tooling Presented with the commentary volume in a silk case
Commentary: 1 volume by Dieter Röschel, Michel Zink and Patricia Stirnemann
Language: Italian
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. Co-edition by the publishers Müller & Schindler, Eikon Editores, and Il Bulino edizioni d'arte.
from 1,180 €
Edition available
Price: Login here!

#2 Das Buch der Liebenden

Limited Edition: 500 copies (co-edition)
Binding: Green leather with gold tooling Presented with the commentary volume in a wooden case covered with green embossed leather
Commentary: 1 volume by Dieter Röschel, Michel Zink and Patricia Stirnemann
Language: German
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. Co-edition by the publishers Müller & Schindler, Eikon Editores, and Il Bulino edizioni d'arte.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!

#3 Historia de amor sin palabras

Eikon Editores – Madrid, 2005
Historia de amor sin palabras
Historia de amor sin palabras Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Eikon Editores – Madrid, 2005
Limited Edition: 500 copies (co-edition)
Binding: Green leather with gold tooling Presented with the commentary volume in a silk case
Commentary: 1 volume by Dieter Röschel, Michel Zink and Patricia Stirnemann
Language: German, French, Spanish
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. Co-edition by the publishers Müller & Schindler, Eikon Editores, and Il Bulino edizioni d'arte.
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