Book Series Manuscripta Illuminata, vol. 6

The Lancelot-Grail Project

Pictorial Choices in Three Related Manuscripts

Alison Stones, Martine Meuwese

  • Pages: approx. 801 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:355 col.
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2024


A comparative study of different approaches to text and picture in three early fourteenth-century Lancelot-Grail manuscripts from Flanders


Alison Stones is Professor Emerita of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh and is now an independent scholar based in London and rural France.  She works on Illuminated manuscripts in French and Latin.

Martine Meuwese is Assistant Professor in History of Art at the University of Utrecht. She works on illuminated manuscripts in Dutch and French.


The Lancelot-Grail romance in French (also known as the Vulgate Cycle of Arthurian Romance) was one of the most popular vernacular texts of the Middle Ages, surviving in whole or in part in close to 200 manuscript copies. Several clusters of manuscripts were produced by the same or closely similar scribes, decorators and artists. These clusters are particularly important in allowing comparisons that shed light on production practices and the choices that were made in terms of the selection and treatment of subjects for illustration and the placing of illustrations in the text. We chose three manuscript copies made in Flanders (probably Saint-Omer,  Ghent or Tournai)  in the second decade of the fourteenth century to conduct a comparative study with a view to determining what strategies were at play in the construction of the illustrative programmes and their relationships. Our selected manuscripts include BL Additional 10292-4 which has more illustrations than any other surviving copy and was the basis for H.O. Sommer’s edition, published in 8 vols., 1909-1913.



Editorial Principles

List of Text Editions

Chapter 1: Telling, writing, and reading
Chapter 2: Editing a Medieval Best-Seller
Chapter 3: Recycling Sacred Iconography
Chapter 4: Some unusual scenes
Chapter 5: L'Estoire del saint Graal
Chapter 6: Varying Patterns in the Lancelot propre
Chapter 7: Lancelot--Preparation for the Grail
Chapter 8: La Queste del saint Graal
Chapter 9: La Mort Artu: The Damsel of Escalot
Chapter 10: Instructions and Rubrics
Chapter 11: To be continued
Chapter 12: Reception of the three manuscripts

A. Summary Catalogue of MSS London, BL Add. 10292-4, Royal 14 E.III, olim Amsterdam BPH 1/Oxford, Bodl. Douce 215/Manchester, The John Rylands UL French 1
B. Geography and Chronology of Lancelot-Grail Manuscripts
C. Tables of Iconography
D. List of Manuscripts Cited