Christ Church MS. 646
Inventory of property ceded to Diane de Poitiers by Anne de Pisseleu; France, 1554
Unpublished. An inventory, drawn up for Henry II’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, of what was ceded to her by her rival, Anne de Pisseleu, formerly mistress of Henry’s father, Francis I. The context is briefly discussed by Ivan Cloulas, Diane de Poitiers ([Paris], 1997), 220 (without reference to our manuscript).
Fol. 74-77: blank
A supplement to the preceding list
Written space unruled and so variable but c. 210 × 95 mm., with 19 / 22 long lines to a page.
Each of the two items has its own scribe, each writing a current secretary script.
Blind-stamped leather over boards on five thongs, s. xvimed, the upper board rather worn. The design of each board has a centrepiece within which sits a monogram of interlocking ‘D’ and reversed ‘D’ with central bar, used by Diane; those initials have above and below a tool of a flaming torch enwrapped by a ?snake, and an upward-facing crescent appears twice above, twice below and once to each side. The centrepiece is placed within concentric rectangles, with floral corner-pieces and a repetition of the torch tool. On the spine, the stamping in the compartments alternates between the interlocked crescents and a smaller version of the initials monogram. There are signs that there were once two cloth ties. Presently held within a box, made of red card with spine of red leather, designed to imitate a binding on five thongs (s. xx). In gold in the second compartment: ‘Inventaire des biens cedes par la Duchesse d’Étampes à Diane de Poitiers’; in the third: ‘Relié aux chiffres et emblems de Diane de Poitiers’; in the last: ‘Manuscrit 1554’.
Provenance and Acquisition
This manuscript entered ChCh’s collection as a bequest from William Max Binney. The eldest of three sons of Maximilian Frederick Brefft Binney, sometime Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Richmond, to attend the House, he took his BA in 1922, having been to school at Westminster. He purchased this manuscript from the Parisian bookseller, Pierre Berès, in 1967: Bulletin Pierre Berès, 104 (March 1967), [6-7], priced at 13,500F and stating ‘ce manuscrit apporte le témoinage du triomphe de Diane de Poitiers sur sa rivale [Anne de Pisseleu]’. Binney died in 1977, and it was only a few years later that his younger brother, Alec, wrote to the library; the letter, kept with the manuscript, is dated 7th December 1982, and comments ‘the binding has suffered rather, but considering its age could be described, I should think, as “fair”’. The librarian’s pencil note on the letter records that it was accepted because of its binding; it arrived in 1983.
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