Images unavailable temporarily

We apologize, but due to some technical issues, manuscript images are temporarily unavailable. The website works, but you will be unable to see manuscript images in the various viewers. Images will gradually come back online over the course of a few weeks. We will update this post with more information as it becomes available.

Thank you for your patience.

Update on 11/6: About 60% of the images are available now. We expect all the images to be available by 11/18.

Update on 11/14: All of the images are available.

Images temporarily unavailable

Due to an issue with our image serving software, some manuscript images are temporarily unavailable. If an image is unavailable, you will see a “gear” icon for it. Images are coming back online gradually in a process that will take about two days.

Thank you for your patience.

Update on 4/24

Images are coming back online steadily, but slower than we hoped.
All images should be available by 4/28.

Update on 4/28

80% of the images are available. The rest should be online by 4/30.

Update on 5/1

All of the images are available.

New image viewer supports mobile devices

The Roman de la Rose digital library has added a custom touch-enabled image viewer to support browsers without Flash. Mobile devices which lack Flash support, such as the iPad, iPhone, and some Android phones, can now fully use the site.

In order to use the new image viewer,  turn off Flash support in the left sidebar. Clicking on the “Flash” check box will switch between the new image viewer and the Flash image viewer. By default iPhones and iPads will have Flash support turned off.

The image viewer has been tested on most modern browsers and a number of mobile devices, but undoubtedly problems remain. Please send bug reports and feedback to Bug reports should include your browser name and version.

The new image viewer has three modes, thumbnail browser, page turner, and single image viewer.

General features:

  •  Touch and gesture support on mobile devices (iPhone/iPad, Android phones/tablets)
  •  Dynamically responds to browser resizing and orientation changes

Thumbnail browser

  • Only loads thumbnails being viewed
  • Click/tap to go to page turner

Page turner

  •  Swipe or use the mouse wheel to flip pages
  •  Click/tap to go to detailed image viewer
  •  A toolbar provides buttons for navigating through the manuscript.
    •  Typing in an image name (e.g., 35r) jumps to that image
  •  Due to layout issues, the annotation display has become a draggable dialog

Image Viewer

  • Tiles large images to support zoom/pan efficiently
  • Mouse wheel or pinch to change zoom
  • Tap/click in main image display to zoom in and center
  • Tap/click on thumbnail to move view
  • Drag thumbnail selection to move view
  • Drag to move main view
  • Toolbar allows click/tap to zoom in, zoom out, and reset the view.

Known issues

  • The page turner displays uncropped images when cropped images are available.
  • The help document needs to be updated

First update of the year

It has been a while since our last update, but at long last iPad and iPhone users can view manuscript images! A non-Flash image viewer has been added. Users can now switch between image viewers using the “Flash” check box on the left sidebar. A subsequent post will describe the new image viewer in detail.

New features:

  • Added a JavaScript image viewer as an alternate to the Flash based viewer.
  • User can switch between the Flash and JavaScript viewer
  • Detect iPhone/iPad as not having flash support
  • Update JavaScript viewer when orientation or browser size changes 

Content updates:

Bug fixes:

  • Scroll image descriptions to prevent them from being cut off.

Thierry Delcourt: in memoriam

Photo © Philippe Savouret

Thierry Delcourt: in memoriam

With profound regret we learned of the death of Thierry Delcourt, Director of the Department of Manuscripts at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, on November 22.  The cause was brain cancer; he was 52 years old.

The Digital Library of Medieval Manuscripts at Johns Hopkins could not have had a better friend and collaborator than Thierry Delcourt. It is no exaggeration to say that without his vision and generosity, our site would not have the wealth of manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose it now contains.  

This is how it happened. In 2006, Winston Tabb, Dean of the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins, and I visited Thierry Delcourt, the newly appointed Director of Manuscripts, in his office on the Rue de Richelieu.  We had come to Paris in hopes of obtaining imaging rights to ten or twelve key Rose manuscripts in the BnF. When I explained our project, and showed him the site, Thierry smiled and asked if we wouldn’t rather have the image rights for all the Rose manuscripts in France!  Quickly calculating how much of a grant we would need to make this happen, we agreed that Hopkins would raise the necessary funds for the project, while the BnF would assume responsibility for the digital imaging of the 140+ publically-available Rose codices in France. And so began a wonderful collaboration born out of Thierry Delcourt’s visionary conception for the role of the BnF in the twenty-first century.

His vision grew naturally from his own training in and love for medieval French literature.  Trained as a paleographer-archivist at the prestigious École des Chartes in Paris, he specialized in manuscripts of the prose Tristan cycle, beginning with his thesis: Le Roman de Tristan en prose. Édition critique et commentaire de l’épisode du Château des Pucelles (1983). He subsequently published other books on the Prose Tristan, on Arthurian literature, bestiaries, crusade chronicles, and the tradition in France of early popular book formats.

Early in his career, Thierry Delcourt distinguished himself as an imaginative and entrepreneurial administrator both in the public and private sector. Appointed Conservator of the Audio-Visual Department at the BnF in 1983, he was recruited into the private sphere as a consultant in systems technology from 1989 to 1992, the year the BnF lured him back to his former post.  In 1995, he became director of the Municipal Library of Troyes, which, under his leadership, became one of the leading media centers in France…even, some feel, one of the most modern and innovative of its kind. In 2006, the BnF appointed him to the post he held until his death this week.  

Fate did not allow us to prolong our partnership with Thierry himself beyond five-and-a-half short, but wonderfully collegial years. With uncanny prescience, however, he leaves as a legacy an extraordinary team in the Department of Manuscripts and its Information Technology section at the BnF with whom we will continue to collaborate bien amicablement thanks to our shared memory of Thierry Delcourt.

Stephen G. Nichols                    November 25, 2011
Johns Hopkins University

Manuscript images temporarily unavailable

Due to a problem with the storage system, manuscript images are unavailable for viewing right now and have only been partially available for the last day.  The site is otherwise working.

We apologize for the downtime and hope to have images available again soon. Updates will be added to this post.

Update 1pm: Most ms images are available. Images from recently added ms should be available later today.

Update 4pm: The remaining images will be available in the next few hours.

Site update


  • Bibliography entry added for fr. 2438, fr. 1565, fr. 24391, fr. 1573, fr.1569, fr. 1561, and Dijon 526.
  • French translation of fr. 12595 added


  • fr. 12595 and Cox Macro manuscript descriptions had some small issues fixed.
  • fr. 12595 character Covoitise incorrectly identified as Cortoisie in image tagging of 2v.
  • French translation of Douce 195 description fixed.
  • Fixed dimensions in collection data spreadsheet for fr. 12595.
  • Added missing number of illustrations to a text in fr. 378.

Bug fixes:

  •  The smaller and larger buttons now work in the image browser view.