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Edward IV’s beautiful Livre d’Eracles….

Edward IV's Book

The following file describes in some detail the magnificent work of art known as Edward IV’s Livre d’Eracles manuscript, and contains many of its large, clear, colourful illustrations. Also revealed are the subtle differences Edward required from the Flemish original that had impressed him so during his exile.

Here are some selections from the text:

“The English King Edward IV (1442-83) had throughout his reign many political, familial, and cultural connections with the Flanders-based court of Burgundy, headed at the time by Duke Charles the Bold. In 1468, King Edward arranged for his sister Margaret of York to marry Duke Charles of Burgundy. The same year he was inducted into Charles’s powerful Burgundian chivalric Order of the Golden Fleece and reciprocally inducted Charles into the English Order of the Garter. In 1470, he was forced into exile for five months when the Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville, placed the former King Henry VI back on the throne. After first unsuccessfully trying to find shelter in Calais, Edward landed in Holland where he was hospitably taken in by Burgundian nobleman Louis de Gruuthuse (also known as Louis de Bruges) at his home in The Hague, and afterwards in Flanders at Louis’s home in Bruges.”

“Between 1470 and 1471, Edward was witness to and inspired by the flourishing Flemish culture of art and fashion, including the manuscript illuminations that his host Louis was beginning voraciously to consume at the time. While Edward was in exile he was penniless, and thus unable to commission works of art. However, after his victorious return to the throne in 1471 he had the full resources of his realm at his command again, and over time built what became the early basis for the Royal library with his manuscript collection, of which many examples are extant in the British Library today.”

“Although his manuscript does select some similar scenes to those manuscripts belonging to his Burgundian knightly companions, particularly the Amiens manuscript that belonged to Jean V de Créquy with its two-miniature True Cross cycle, it is overall notably different in its selection and execution of scenes. The beauty and sophistication of many of the miniatures, as well as their sheer volume and size, definitely speak to the luxury and magnificence that the Flemish illuminators were able to produce for their English royal patron.”


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