The viewing tools

With the high resolution images on the site, and using such viewing tools as the “zoom in” button, the “drag image” button, and the “popup window” button, the user interested in illustrations of the Roman de la Rose is now able to examine and compare these in greater detail than ever before. This is perhaps especially helpful in identifying artists and their different methods of work in the various manuscripts. For instance, the artist Jeanne de Montbaston, who lived and worked in Paris in the second quarter of the fourteenth century, is thought responsible for all 42 illuminations of Walters 143. This includes the border and frontispiece with four scenes on folio 1r and the 41 framed panel illustrations that follow.

We are better able to understand Jeanne’s use of thin brown lines to represent facial features and drapery by zooming in on the illumination on folio 69v of Walters 143, for example, and to see that the face of the character of Faux Semblant (False Seeming), who is tonsured and dressed in the black and white robes of a Dominican, was rubbed away and then redrawn by a hand different from Jeanne’s. If we use the “drag image” button to move a little to the right, we find the letters “b” and “a” have been written beside the scene. These are possibly directions for Jeanne made by the scribe. What the letters might have indicated to her remains unknown. Perhaps someone has an idea they would like to suggest or can find other directions to Jeanne in Walters 143 using the different viewing tools.