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Book of Hours of the Dolphin of France | Medieval Codex

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The Dolphin of France Hours


Grenoble, the city of the Dolphins

The Dolphin of France was a nobiliary French title which was used from 1349 till 1830 and reserved for the heir prince of France who were legitimate son of the reigning king. The heirs of France used to flaunt this title since the Count Humbert II sold his title to Philip VI of France with some conditions; that the French throne will have add the territory to the government and that will govern the Delphinado as a separated province; also that the heir at the throne will have the title of Dolphin. The city of Grenoble which library nowadays conserves the manuscript, had been the capital of the Delfinado since XI century.

The authors of the manuscripts

Jean and Jacquelin de Montluçon (also known as Mollison) have been the masters of an atelier which was active in the city of Bourges from 1461 to 1505. There are a lot of illuminated manuscripts done by this atelier as such as some altarpieces located in several churches.

Jean probably was born around 1417 in Montluçon, town which gave the name to the author.

Once installed in Bourges in 1461, works on the decorations done for the funeral of Charles the VII directed by Jacob Lichtemont the official painter of the king.

He lived a really prosperous life. He appears in a lot of archives as the author of heraldic paintings made in occasion of ceremonies or polychrome statues.

He was contemporary of another really famous illuminator resident in Bourges, Jean Colombe, who finished Le Très Riches Heures del Duque du Berry.

Jacqueline was his son born in Bourges in 1463 and death in 1505. He does the same assignment that his father used to do; he realized also other really original works as the owner of the accounting of the municipality of Bourges. Probably also of the city of Savoy between 1496 and 1498, during this period painted also the wonderful altarpiece of the Adoration of the Child of Chambery.

The most expensive book of the history of France

The importance of this work, wonderful and little at the same time, is also shown through the importance of these two authors in another incredible manuscript, the Monypenny Breviarium, which was put in an auction and sold to a private collector for 1.700.000 Pounds in 1989 (now around 5.000.000,00€).

Characteristics of the book


  • Signature: Ms. 1011 (Livre d’heures), Municipal Library of Grenoble
  • Origin: Bourges, end of the XV century
  • Size: 12,5×18,5 cm
  • Extension: 64 folios (128 pages) totally illuminated
  • Language: Latin
  • Authors: Jean and Jacqueline de Montluçon
  • Material: Pergamenata Fedrigoni 160 mq/gr
  • Binding: Hand binding in purple violet on a wooden support
  • Commentary book: Full color book, by Fernando Villaseñor Sebastián



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