Jena, Germany, Universitätsbibliothek, MS 4
(Choirbook for Maximilian I)

Provenance: 1) The manuscript contains portraits and heraldic arms of Maximilian I and his grandchildren (including Archduke Charles, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) as well as of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. On 29 October 1516, a treaty was drawn up between Henry VIII and Maximilian, which was ratified on 11 May 1517 by Charles. This lead to the Treaty of London of 1518, a non-aggressive pact between England, France, the Holy Roman Empire, the Papacy, Spain, Burgundy and the Netherlands, all of whom agreed not to attack one another and to come to the aid of any that were under attack. The manuscript was probably not intended as a gift for Henry VIII (initially suggested by Roediger 1935, 6) , as it remained in Maximilian’s hands. Rather, the Emperor might have wished to unite portraits of his main peacekeeping allies in a manuscript. 2) The Emperor probably presented the manuscript to Frederick the Wise in 1518 as part of his campaign to make Archduke Charles his successor as Holy Roman Emperor, when Frederick’s secretary Johann Pfeffinger came to visit the Emperor in Innsbruck (Roediger 1935, 11). 3) When a later Elector, Johann Friedrich I, was deposed in 1547, he retired to Weimar, taking with him the court library. The collection was transferred to Jena in the following year to become the foundation of the library of the Hochschule (later Jena University).


1516-18, Brussels, Belgium, Mechelen, Belgium
brown leather over wood, with clasps
Decoration: Blind-tooled lozenge design, metal corners, lock, buckle and clasps
gilt edges
Endpapers: none
Original binding, partially restored.