project: a hunting gathering (part 1)

This autumn my SCA-group will arrange an event: Boar Hunt. Having seen the manuscript Livre de Chasse by Gaston III, Count of Foix (also known as Gaston Phoebus), I had the idea to recreate the hunting brunch seen in one of the illuminations.

Livre de Chasse, or the Book of Hunting, is a manuscript were Phoebus describes different hunting technique. It was written between 1387 and 1389 but continues to be in use for several centuries a hunting manual. This book was reprinted and translated even during the 15th and 16th century and there are several modernized versions written during the last centuries. Sources claim that there are 37 manuscripts of the book still in existence. The most famous version is probably the MS fr 616 at the French National Library. It has 87 beautiful illuminations depicting the different animals that can be hunted as well as the dogs, men and techniques used in the hunt. Chapter 33 describes “how the assembly that men call gathering should be made”, essentially before the hunt begins and the Master of the Game decides which animal should be hunted. The accompanying illumination shows men sitting at a table and on the ground, in the woods, eating a meal. This picture is what inspired me to recreate the gathering instead of serving a more modern lunch at the event.

Livre de Chasse at Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) and the aforementioned gathering on folio 67r.

Livre de chasse, Paris, BnF, Ms. fr. 616, fol. 67r.

Sources for my research:

  • Illuminated Manuscipts Medieval hunting scenes (“The Hunting Book” by Gaston Phoebus), text by Gabriel Bise.
  • The Master of Game: The Oldest English Book on Hunting by of Norwich Edward et al. Project Gutenberg
  • Medieval Hunting, Richard Almond
  • Food in Medieval Times, Melitta Weiss Adamson
  • Early French Cookery, D. Eleanor Scully and Terence Scully
  • Wikipedia: Livre de Chasse. List of links to existing copies of the book.

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