PRoMs - The Production and Reading of Music Sources

Mise-en-page in manuscripts and printed books containing polyphonic music, 1480—1530

Manuscript: London, Great Britain, British Library, MS Harley 5242

Manuscript type: choirbook

RISM siglum: GB-Lbl Harley 5242

DIAMM Source Key: 1907

Basis for description: original

London, Great Britain, British Library, MS Harley 5242
(Chansonnier of Françoise de Foix)


1. Francoise de Foix, Countess of Châteaubriant (b. c. 1495, d. 1537), cousin of Anne of Brittany (d. 1514), wife of Jean de Laval-Montmorency (from 1509) and official mistress of King Francis I (from 1515); made or adapted for her: added borders with her initials 'FF' and a monogram 'ANNE' (? on this reading see Litterick 1976, fig. 1), perhaps referring to Anne of Brittany whose motto 'Non mudera' constitute the theme of the rondeu 'Non mudera ma constance et finesse' inserted twice in the present manuscript (ff. 9v, 40v) (see Chaillon 1953); the name 'Francoise' is substituted for 'ma belle amye' in three songs (ff. 2v, 3r, 15v, 23r), except for f. 2v it appears to have been added by a different scribe who also inserted the word 'Joyeulx' (f. 16r) and an additional stanza (f. 27v); according to Chaillon 1953 and Litterick 1976, a possible gift from Charles III de Bourbon, constable of France (d. 1527), Francoise's friend and perhaps lover (the initials in the manuscript were illuminated by the artist/workshop responsible for the majority of the initials in BnF ms. fr. 9346, which was made for Charles). 2. The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd Earl of Oxford and Mortimer; it is unclear whether the manuscript was acquired by Robert or Edward Harley. The collection was bequeathed by Edward Harley to his wife Henrietta, née Cavendish Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) and daughter Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), Duchess of Portland. 3. The British Museum purchased the Harley Collection for the nation in 1753 from Henrietta Cavendish Holles Harley and Margaret Cavendish Bentinck for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum.


1966, London, Great Britain
blue cloth and parchment over wood
Decoration: Modern British Museum binding of tan cloth on wooden boards, backed with parchment; gilt Harley arms on the front and back.
none edges
Endpapers: front and back