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September - Livre des propriétés des choses

September’s Object of the Month comes from the Fitzwilliam’s extensive Manuscripts collection, started by Lord Fitzwilliam himself, and is the first display you see when you enter our exhibition, COLOUR: The art and science of illminated manuscripts.

Livre des propriétés des choses or MS-251 to give it its catalogue number is a 15th Century manuscript from Paris, commissioned for Amadeus VIII, Count of Savoy (1383-1451).

This manuscript is one of the most sumptuous surviving copies of a popular medieval encyclopaedia. Designed to provide both empirical knowledge and moral guidance, the work was widely disseminated throughout Europe.

De proprietatibus rerum (On the Properties of Things), written in Latin by Bartholomew the Englishman c.1240, was translated into French in 1372 by Jean Corbechon, chaplain of Charles V of France (1338-1380). Corbechon produced the French version at the command of the king who was an avid bibliophile. Commissioned by Amadeus VIII, Count of Savoy (1383-1451) and grandnephew of Charles V, this spectacular copy of Corbechon’s text was illuminated by the Master of the Mazarine Hours in Paris c.1415.

To find out more about the manuscript and discover more of its pages, along with others from the collection go to our online collection Illuminated which can be found here: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/illuminated/