The J. Paul Getty Museum

Chronique de Normandie

Object Details


Chronique de Normandie






Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1400–1415


Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment bound between pasteboard covered with brown morocco; most miniatures executed in black and brown inks with a gray wash

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig XIII 4 (83.MP.147)


Leaf: 29.1 × 19.1 cm (11 7/16 × 7 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

The Getty’s copy of the Chronicles of Normandy is a secular manuscript created in between 1400 and 1415 which is a prose history of the Duchy of Normandy. Normandy was created by the 911 Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between the Kingdom of the West Franks and the Viking Leader Rollo (860-930), who would go on to become the first ruler of the Northern French Region (which includes Normandy). Though the title of Duke was not used to describe the rulers of Normandy until after the 11th, century, the manuscript can be seen as a historical chronology of as it details the events of the nobility starting with Rollo and ending with the reign of Henry III (1207-1272), making the text a contemporary record of medieval events.

Utilizing the grisaille method of painting in gray monochrome, the manuscript contains 12 small miniatures that detail different major events related to various Dukes of Normandy. Though the artist uses this method for all the miniatures within the text, the manuscript’s frontispiece is painted with tempera colors, as well as the decorated initials and marginal imagery throughout. The miniatures focus on various aspects of ruler ship, ranging from diplomatic presentations, to coronations, to dynastic marriages, to battle scenes.

Two of these decorated initials contain armorial devices that allow us to identify David de Rambures (1364-1415), Grande Maitre of the crossbowmen. Apparently, he added to his own coat of arms those of his best friend Guillaume de Bours (d.1415). The two men were acting advisors for various dukes and kings, including Philip the Bold (1342-1404) prior to their deaths at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, one of the major key battles that turned the Hundred Years’ War in favor of England.

about 1400 - 1415

Commissioned by David de Rambures, French, 1364 - 1415
Source: P. Anselme, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, des pairs, grands officiers de la couronne et de la maison du roy, Paris 1726-1733, t. VIII, pp. 65 ss.
Note: Known as the Grand maître of the arbalétriers (crossbowmen) of the French King Charles VI. (1380-1422), who was consequently the purchaser and first owner of the manuscript.

by 1419

Possibly Tanneguy III du Châtel, English, 1369 - 1446
Source: Coat of arms on ff. 1 and 15v.

early 16th century

Thomas Meredyth, English,
Source: Ownership note on flyleaf.

by 1557

Claude de Lorraine, French, 1526 - 1573
Source: Miniatures with arms of Claude de Lorraine, with inscription: "Tresverteux et magnanime Prince Claude de Lorraine, Duc D'aumale me raporta de la Ville de Calais lors... huictiesme de Janvier 1557."
Note: Was involved in the Dedikationszierseite designated as another owner Claude de Lorraine, Duc d'Aumale (1526-1573), of whose high state offices bear the arms.

- 1816

Sir Thomas Johnes, English, 1748 - 1816

1816 - 1833

Estate of Sir Thomas Johnes, English, 1748 - 1816, the entire library was purchased by Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle, 1833.

1833 - 1851

Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, English, 1785 - 1851, by inheritence to his son, Henry Pelham, 5th Duke of Newcastle, 1851.

1851 - 1864

Henry Pelham Pelham-Clinton, English, 1811 - 1864, by inheritence to his son, Henry Pelham-Clinton, 6th Duke of Newcastle, 1864.

1864 - 1879

Henry Alexander Pelham-Clinton, 6th duke of Newcastle, 1834 - 1879, by inheritence to his son, Henry Archibald Pelham-Clinton, 7th Duke of Newcastle, 1879.

1879 - 1928

Henry Pelham A. D. Pelham-Clinton, 14th Earl of Lincoln (1864-1879), 7th Duke of Newcastle (1879-1928), British, 1864 - 1928, by inheritence to his nephew, Henry E.H. Pelham-Clinton, 9th Duke of Newcastle, 1928.

1928 - 1937

Henry E. H. Pelham-Clinton-Hope, 16th Earl of Lincoln (1928-1941), 9th Duke of Newcastle (1941-1988), British, 1907 - 1988 [sold, Sotheby's, London, December 6, 1937, lot 942, to Ellis]

1937 - 1960

Ellis & White [sold, Sotheby's, London, February 1, 1960, lot 312, to Maggs Bros.]


Martin Bodmer, Swiss, 1899 - 1971

by 1970

Hans P. Kraus, Sr., American, born Austria, 1907 - 1988

- 1983

Dr. Peter Ludwig, German, 1925 - 1996 and Irene Ludwig, German, 1927 - 2010, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Provenance Remarks: Initials on ff. 1 and 15 verso contain a coat of arms which have been identified as that of a member of the Chastel family; this would indicate a possible ownership of the codex by Tanneguy Du Chastel (c. 1358-1446) the noted French statesman and general who instigated the murder of John, Duke of Burgundy, in 1419. An exlibris inscription on the first leaf reads "Iste liber partent a (sic) Thomas Meredyth"; this Meredyth may well have been the owner when Calais was taken by the French in 1557. The coat of arms and inscription on leaf 3 record the fact that the manuscript was part of the booty of Calais which was taken by Charles, Duc d'Aumale, who was the trusted assistant of his brother, the Duc de Guise, the commander in chief of the siege of Calais. In the early 19th century it was owned by the celebrated collector Thomas Johnes, who had many historical manuscripts relating to England. The Johnes library was bought in entirety by the fourth Duke of Newcastle in 1833, and the Johnes-Newcastle mss. were sold in 1937 by the Early of Lincoln, heir of the seventh Duke (Clumber sale, 6 December 1937, this ms. lot 942).

Illuminating the Past: Historical Texts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (February 2 to April 11, 1993) (fols. 1v-2)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), February 2 to April 11, 1993
Imagining the Past in France: 1250-1500 (November 16, 2010 to February 6, 2011) (fols. 15v-16)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 16, 2010 to February 6, 2011
Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts (January 22 to June 26, 2016) (fols. 1v-2; fols. 49v-50)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 22 to June 26, 2016
All that Glitters: Life at the Renaissance Court (August 28 to December 2, 2018) (fol. 1)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 28 to December 2, 2018

Meiss, Millard, French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Late   Fourteenth Century and the Patronage of the Duke (London, 1967), p. 354.

von Euw, Anton, and Joachim M. Plotzek. Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig. 4 vols. (Cologne: Schnütgen-Museum, 1979-1985), vol. 3 (1982), pp. 238-42.

"Manuscript Acquisitions: The Ludwig Collection." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12, 1984, p. 301.

Labory, Gillette, Les manuscrits de la Grande Chronique de Normandie du XIVe et du XVe siècle. In: Revue d'histoire des textes, bulletin n°27 (1997), pp. 191-222.