Prayer book of Anne de Bretagne

Collection in Focus: Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne

The incredible Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne has a compelling story behind the beautiful craftsmanship. Our Melvin R. Seiden Curator and Department Head Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Roger S. Wieck describes the work in detail.

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Accession number: 
MS M.50
Prayer book of Anne de Bretagne
Tours, France, between 1492 and 1495.
Rose velvet in red morocco chemise, in red morocco case.
Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1905.
31 leaves (1 column, 18 lines), bound : vellum, ill. ; 126 x 80 mm
Made for Anne de Bretagne: her cipher A,N,E in a number of borders, her portrait on fol. 10v, and an idealized portrait on fol. 31r (most likely of her first son by Charles VIII, the dauphin, Charles-Orland (1492-1495)); inherited by her daughter Claude de France; purchased ca. 1820 by Armand de Crochard, of Fontaine-Milon, near Angers; inherited by de Crochard's son, a member of the Société des antiquaires de l'Ouest (and in his possession in 1877); bought in Nantes by Théophile Belin of Paris by 1903; purchased for 52,500 francs by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1905 from Belin; J.P. Morgan (1867-1943).

Ms. prayer book; written and illuminated in Tours, France, between 1492 and 1495.
Also known as the Prières d'Anne de Bretagne.
Decoration: 34 miniatures framed by her emblem, the cordelière; the letters of the name of Anne fill the borders surrounding the miniatures.
Artist: Jean Poyer (formerly Poyet).
Manuscript commissioned by Anne de Bretagne to teach the dauphin, Charles-Orland, his catechism. Inherited by her daughter Claude de France and used as a model ca. 1515 for the Primer of Renée de France, Claude's younger sister (Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, MS Lat 614=a.U.2.28).
Folio 31r shows a youth, probably representing Charles-Orland, kneeling, his hands joined and raised in prayer towards God the Father. Behind the youth is a throne.
Revised: 2016

Variant Title: 

Primer of Charles-Orland

Latin and French