Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love

Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love

Paris and Lyon (France) — Between 1500 and 1519

Beautiful poetry for his beloved: the masterpiece by Pierre Sala on the themes of love, wisdom, poverty, and success

  1. Pierre Sala (1457–1529) wrote these deeply personal poems about love and dedicated it to Marguerite Bullioud

  2. The entire manuscript bespeaks a personal esteem for the woman he was wooing and would later marry

  3. Aside from love, the rich mix of text and imagery debates wisdom, foolishness, grace, and success

Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love

Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Please ask for a quote!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love

The Little Book of Love by Pierre Sala captivates with its extremely personal content, which mainly deals with the topic of love. The he composed the French verses as well as a long dedication in prose for the woman who would eventually be his wife. The small book is illustrated with fine and brightly colored miniatures and seizes upon the topic of love. With the grand, gold-painted pages, this book is an impressive example of the private book art of the Renaissance.

Pierre Sala’s Little Book of Love

Pierre Sala’s Petit libre d’amour is an intimate and very personal manuscript whose primary theme is love. The Lyonnais poet Pierre Sala created the small book for his later wife, with whom he was attempting to gain favor. The texts were richly illustrated with miniatures and the entire Little Book of Love bespeaks a personal esteem, which is embodied in the artistic furnishings of the work.

A Small Book as Proof of Love

The image of the author throwing his red heart into the blossom of a chrysanthemum makes the purpose of the small book abundantly clear. With the Little Book of Love, Pierre Sala wooed Marguerite Bullioud, who finally became his wife in 1519. The name of his dearly beloved is symbolized by a flower. In fine miniatures, courtly ladies are shown playing with floating hearts, along with other scenes that handle the topic of love. Oftentimes one can recognize consciously satirical coloring in the work. Such a thematic device is not unordinary for the 15th and 16th Centuries, but unfortunately only a few have survived to today. The Illustrator of the book is the so called “Master of Scandalous Gossip”, who was active in Paris ca. 1500. 12 miniatures altogether are surrounded by a fine, golden frame, which are decorated with tassels in the corners. Every page of the manuscript has been dyed purple, which are decorated with fine, golden ornament in the open areas. In light, bright colors along with fine brushing, the lovely and detail rich scenes are painted onto the purple parchment. When opened, they find themselves on the right side of the book, next to the corresponding text on the left side.

Galant Verses of a Great Writer

The author of these verses is the French poet and humanist, Pierre Sala (1457–1529), who was born in Lyon, and active at the courts of Kings Charles VII, Louis XII, and Francis I. In gallant rhetoric, he composed the text for the Little Book of Love with verse as well as prose, which not only deals with the topic of love, but also concerns itself with moral questions of wisdom and success. The book is mainly written in French, but also contains an Italian poem. At the beginning of the book stands an 8 page dedication to his intended, Marguerite. In a unity of text and image, the topic of love is deliberated, along with the stories debating over wisdom, foolishness, grace, and success. This connection of the art of poetry with fine and costly manuscript art makes the Little Book of Love an extraordinary example of private book art of the Renaissance.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Pierre Salas "Le Petit Livre d'Amour"
Pierre Sala - Kleines Buch der Liebe
Emblesmes et Divises d'Amour
Size / Format
40 pages / 13.0 × 10.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
Between 1500 and 1519
Language
Script
Humanistic
Illustrations
13 full-page miniatures, 12 Trompe l'oeil cartouches, and 17 pages with a transcription of the texts by a French hand of the 18th century
Content
Poems concerning love as well as moral questions of wisdom and success
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Marguerite Bullioud (b. ca. 1485)
Jehan Sala
François Sala
Antoine de Guillens
Jean-Andoche Junot (1771–1813)
Richard Grenville (1776–1839)
Bertram Ashburnham, 4th Earl of Ashburnham (1797–1878)
Bertram Ashburnham, 5th Earl of Ashburnham (1840–1913)

Available facsimile editions:
Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love – Stowe MS 955 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1994
Limited Edition: 690 copies (Standard Edition)

Pierre Sala's Kleines Buch der Liebe (De Luxe Edition)
Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1994
Limited Edition: 290 copies (De Luxe Edition)
Detail Picture

Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love

Author Portrait

Born in Lyon, Pierre Sala (1457-1529) was a French poet and humanist active at the courts of Kings Charles VII, Louis XII, and Francis I and his portrait shows him dressed in Renaissance fashion. Sala has the forlorn look of a young man in love: flowing golden locks hang down from his black cap and frame a fair face with grey eyes, a straight nose, full lower lip. The shading of his stubble is very subtly and naturally executed, as are the ruffles of his shirt.

Pierre Sala's Kleines Buch der Liebe (Standard Edition)
Single Page

Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love

Women Playing with Floating Hearts

Set in a splendid gold frame that contrasts beautifully with the purple parchment, this miniature of hearts with fluttering golden wings and two richly dressed noble ladies is an allegory for chivalric romance. Traditionally, a knight would perform acts of bravery to win the heart of a lady, but as a poet, Pierre Sala created this text for the purpose of wooing the woman that he would eventually marry.

Chivalric romance flipped the conventions of medieval society on their head: ladies were the ones who held the power and it was the gentleman who had to present themselves as supplicants continuously striving for the approval of their beloved. As a result, the heart of even the most powerful knight could become the plaything of the fairer sex.

Pierre Sala's Kleines Buch der Liebe (Standard Edition)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Pierre Sala's Kleines Buch der Liebe (Standard Edition)

Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1994
Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love – Stowe MS 955 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Pierre Sala's Little Book of Love – Stowe MS 955 – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1994
Limited Edition: 690 copies (Standard Edition)
Binding: The volume is gilt-edged on three sides and bound in brown velvet with a leather spine. The Standard Edition comes in a decorative slipcase.
Commentary: 1 volume (399 pages) by Janet Backhouse and Yves Giraud
Languages: English, French, 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.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Please ask for a quote!

#2 Pierre Sala's Kleines Buch der Liebe (De Luxe Edition)

Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1994

Publisher: Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1994
Limited Edition: 290 copies (De Luxe Edition)
Binding: The volume is gilt-edged on three sides and bound in brown velvet with a leather spine. The Deluxe Edition includes an exclusive gold-tooled leather slip case.
Commentary: 1 volume (399 pages) by Janet Backhouse and Yves Giraud
Languages: English, German, French
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.
You might also be interested in:
Codice de la Guerra de Troya
Codice de la Guerra de Troya
Italy – Second half of the 14th century

A magnificently illuminated journey through time to Trecento Italy: the Trojan epic based on the story by Benoit de Sainte-Maure in Italian illumination

Experience More
Marco Polo - The Book of Wonders
Marco Polo - The Book of Wonders
Paris (France) – 1410–1412

Monopods, spice traders, and foreign realms: the adventures of Marco Polo illuminated by the Boucicaut Master and the Bedford Workshop

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher