A potential patron for Douce 308?

My article revisiting the dating, provenance and putting together of the manuscript Bodleian Library, Douce 308 has just appeared in the journal Speculum.

As readers of this blog (and people who know me) will know, I’ve been working on a manuscript in my local University library, Douce 308, for over a decade. In this newly published article, I offer a review of the dating information based on people named in the manuscript’s contents and suggest a potential patron, giving a rationale. It’s all pretty speculative (one of the readers thought it was really very speculative!) but I am a believer in getting ‘out there’ ideas out there so people can take them and run with them or take them and chew them to pieces.

Henry being crowned Holy Roman Emperor in MS GB-Lbl Royal 20 C VII


Abstract: This article addresses fundamental questions about the exact provenance, purpose, and possible patron of the manuscript Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 308 (D308), starting from new syntheses of older scholarship, and proceeding to fresh hypotheses via additional new
evidence. Such new evidence includes refinements to the identification of individuals named in the jeux-partis in D308, and the recognition of a previously unremarked piece of gilding in the manuscript’s copy of Jacques Bretel’s Le Tournoi de Chauvency, which seems to draw
attention to a significant name. A Chiny/Lorraine wedding in 1313 is explored as a possible occasion for the manuscript’s commissioning. Ultimately, the manuscript exists among the significant relations between the noble Houses of Bar, Lorraine, and Chiny in the period
between the conflict between France and Flanders that ended with the Treaty of Bruges in 1301, through the civil war in Metz in 1306–7, to the aftermath of Henry VII’s fatal imperial campaign in Italy.

Elizabeth Eva Leach, “The Provenance, Date, and Patron of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 308,” Speculum 97/2 (2022): 283–321. Published online (subscription required) at: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/718760


  1. Alison Stones says:

    Speculative indeed, but highly plausible and convincingly argued–must definitely be taken into account hereafter !

    1. Thanks — that means a lot!

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