Reuniting UC 1380 with UC 392

In 1907, the French translation of a 13th-century Latin text, Le Jeu des échecs moralisé (The Moralized Game of Chess), which accompanied a 14th-century Parisian copy of the Roman de la Rose, was separated from the poem and bound into a second volume. The Roman de la Rose text (including Le Testament and Codicille of the author Jean de Meun), was also given a new binding of red leather at this time. The volume of Le Jeu des échecs moralisé, with 39 folios and 13 miniatures, was purchased by the University of Chicago in 1931 and is now University of Chicago Library MS 392. In 2007, the University of Chicago Library was able to reunite the two works with their purchase of the Roman de la Rose volume, which has 171 folios and 42 miniatures and is now University of Chicago Library MS 1380 (or UC 1380). Both texts appear to have been written by the same hand, and the miniatures of Le Jeu des échecs moralisé and the Roman de la Rose seem to be the work of a single illuminator. (This artist has been called the Master of Saint Voult and linked to illuminators working for Charles V.) Images of the copy of Le Jeu des échecs moralisé can be viewed at the University of Chicago Library’s Rose & Chess
site, while the Roman de la Rose is part of this Digital Library. With these digital surrogates, we can see how a 14th-century artist illuminated two different secular texts, and compare the illustrations of courtly love in UC 1380 to those of an ideal society in UC 392.

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