Book of the Hunt

Book of the Hunt – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Ms. 10218 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Brussels, Belgium)

Flanders — 1455

King Modus in a magnificently illustrated conversation with one of his pupils: on the art of hunting and the luxurious lifestyle of the Burgundian nobility

  1. It is a dialogue between a student and a teacher, the allegorical King Modus, on the topic of hunting

  2. Made for Philip the Good (1396–1467), Duke of Burgundy, under whose patronage Flemish illumination flourished

  3. 56 magnificent miniatures illustrate the text and display the sumptuous lifestyle of the Burgundian nobility

Book of the Hunt

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

In the Late Middle Ages, Flanders and the Netherlands emerged as the site of arguably the most refined manuscripts of the epoch. The Flemish stlye flourished under the patronage of the Dukes of Burgundy, whose power surpassed the actual kings of their day and whose court was the most refined in all of Europe. Although the Burgundian state did not endure as an independent political entity, it has left behind a fabulous artistic legacy including fantastic illuminated manuscripts. The Book of the Hunt of King Modus is a classically styled 14th century text in the form of a diaglogue between a student and a teacher, the allegorical King Modus, on the topic of hunting. The 15th century manuscript features 56 magnificent miniatures that not only illustrate the text but also display the sumptuous lifestyle of the Burgundian nobility.

Book of the Hunt

The Book of the Hunt of King Modus – this is the title of a work conceived in 1370 by Henri de Ferrières, a knowledgeable expert of the art and practice of hunting. The Norman nobleman, who exchanged the pen against the sword as an old man, wrote the first treatise on hunting in the French language, which has since been copied several times. It is assumed that this manuscript was made for Philip the Good, the third of the great dukes of Burgundy who assembled a kingdom more wealthy and powerful than any other in Europe.

Who was King Modus?

The author wished to underline the authority of his text while also capturing the readers’ attention. He therefore patterned this work after the manner of the Greek philosophers, as a dialogue between a student and his teacher conversing on the hunting profession. The teacher in this case is embodied in the allegorical figure of King Modus.

56 Lively Miniatures

The miniatures of our manuscript, which was produced in 1455 in Burgundy, deserve special mention. Their rich golden decoration is not only intended to illustrate the instructions of the text but also to glorify the sumptuous lifestyle of the nobility. They intrigue us with a certain liveliness, the expert representation of animals and the authenticity of the luxurious vestments. The close association with nature was intended by the illuminators who attached great importance to authenticity in their depictions. The book thus displays the pinnacle of Flemish art in a work made for a prince of the high nobility.


Alternative Titles
Le Livre du Roy Modus
Jagdbuch des Königs Modus
Buch der Jagd von König Modus
Size / Format
214 pages / 29.9 × 20.5 cm
Littera bastarda
56 large miniatures, marginal miniatures, and decorative initials with gold leaf
Hunting treatise
Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy (1396–1467)
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Book of the Hunt – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Ms. 10218 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Brussels, Belgium)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1989
Limited Edition: 3000 copies
Detail Picture

Book of the Hunt

Boar Caught in a Trap

Although coursing – chasing game on horseback – was the most exciting and aristocratic form of hunting, more practical methods were also used such as traps and snares. Here we see a wild boar with black fur that has been caught in a trap with nets. A hunter dressed in blue with red tights and girt with a sword cautiously moves in for the kill with a spear, wary of the dangerous beast. Magnificent Gothic architecture serves as a backdrop amidst a soft rolling landscape.

Jagdbuch des Königs Modus
Single Page

Book of the Hunt

Training a falcon

These two falconers are dressed as fashionable young 15th century noblemen with fur hats, short jackets, tights, and pointed shoes in addition to the gloves required for protecting their hands from sharp talons. Expensive and requiring intense training, falcons were a status symbol among nobles from medieval Europe, the Middle East, and the Mongol Empire.
The scene takes place in an open field and has a glowing burnished gold background, seemingly as though they were working with the falcon at dawn. Tethered by a long leash, the falcon is shown practicing its attacks mid-flight on a fake bird which the gentlemen in blue is whipping around in the air. Written in an elegant and masterful hand, the accompanying text features golden initials.

Jagdbuch des Königs Modus
Facsimile Editions

#1 Jagdbuch des Königs Modus

Limited Edition: 3000 copies
Binding: Leather with gold embossing Facsimile and commentary volume in a cloth slipcase
Commentary: 1 volume (120 pages) by Dagmar Thoss and Max Haehn
Languages: 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. True copy of the marbled fly-leaf paper. All folios are cut according to the original. 975 copies for the Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 375 copies for the Spanish speaking countries and 1650 copies for the French speaking countries. This limited facsimile edition is a coproduction of the Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt with the Club de Livre, Paris and Editorial Casariego, Madrid.
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