Say Cheese

May 21, 2017 in Manuscript Studies, Photographic Exhibition, Uncategorized

Survey of Rents for Plots of Land
circa 1530s
from Brie in France

Single-Sheet Document
Undated
in French on Vellum
with mostly Blank Dorse

Continuing our series on Manuscript Studies, our Principal Blogger, Mildred Budny (see Her Page) briefly describes a single-sheet vellum document, which lists in French the rents for various plots of land concerning the region of Brie (renowned for, among other things, its distinctive Cheese).

[First published on 21 May 2017, with updates]

Detail of "Brie Champenoise" from the "Atlas Moderne" by Rigbert Bonne (1771). Via Wiki Commons.

Detail of “Brie Champenoise” from the “Atlas Moderne” by Rigbert Bonne (1771). Via Wiki Commons.

Face Front

The document in question, now in a private collection, measures at the most circa 298 × 149 mm. The script of the document uses the whitish flesh side of the animal skin.  The written side presents a description in French in 22 1/3 long lines of fields and rents from various properties in the area.

By a single hand, the text is skillfully and swiftly written in faded brown ink.  The lines are not uniformly horizontal.  They stand upon an unevenly trimmed sheet, whose contours perhaps conform partly to the shape of the sheet as it emanated from the initial preparation of the writing material.

The dorse (not shown here; no image is yet available) is mostly blank, although apparently black light reveals some scarcely decipherable traces of script which has been rubbed or effaced.  To quote the collector’s report:  the document “has nothing obvious written on the verso, although a black light shows what may possibly be faint text that has rubbed out.  The recto text is mostly readable with the black light.”  Glad for image enhancement, wherever possible.

Single-sheet document in Latin on vellum, circa 1530s, listing rents for plots of land, from Brie in France. Private collection, reproduced by permission.

Face of the document.

The document is undated.  A sensible assessment of its probable date of origin must depend, for example, upon the style of its script.  Given points of comparison (in Latin:  comparanda), let us suggest that it probably dates from the 153os.  An earlier post in our blog considers 16th-century script by more than one skilled French hands: Scrap of Information.

That post illustrates a large single-sheet charter from Vienne in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, also in a private collection, emanating from the 1530s.  Seen here:

1530 document from Vienne. Reproduced by permission

Different hands, stylistic differences, but some similar approaches in both these documents.  Plus, the Vienne document contains entries by several different hands.  Shared features.

Closer Up

A few closer views, first the left-hand half:

Left-hand half of face of Single-sheet document in Latin on vellum, circa 1530s, listing rents for plots of land, from Brie in France. Private collection, reproduced by permission.

Left-hand Half of the Brie Document. Reproduced by permission.

Now the right-hand half:

Right-hand half of face of Single-sheet document in Latin on vellum, circa 1530s, listing rents for plots of land, from Brie in France. Private collection, reproduced by permission.

Right-hand Half. Reproduced by permission.

What Up?

To put it mildly, much of the vocabulary is more than a bit unfamiliar.  Let’s take a sampling, and you might take it from there.

For example, one line (guess which one?) reads “. . . Les courres des godeaux situes du ladite paroisse de brye contenans trois journaulx ung quart de journaul et ung quar de carreau ladit bernardeau promo . . .”  Presumably the terms ‘carreau’ and ‘journaul’ are land measures. 

To state that this is “not exactly our field” applies both to the fields in the region of Brie, not possessed by anyone we know, and to our own fields of expertise (so far).  Way to go?  Bien sur!

Way to Go

Do you know, perhaps, of other extant monuments of script from this scribe, from this region at the same point in time, or locations indicated in the span of the document?  We would be glad to know more.

Piece of Cake?  Piece of Cheese?

Slice of Brie. Photograph by Coyau via Wikipedia Commons.

Slice of Brie. Photograph by Coyau via Wikipedia Commons.

Over to you.  Please let us know your comments.

*****

Next stop:  More Manuscripts, Of Course.

Keep sight of the Contents List for this Blog.

*****

Be Sociable, Share!