project: a hunting gathering (part 2)

See my previous post for a background story to this project.

An illumination is usually the first thing that peaks my attention when there is a project that I want to research in some way. This time it is was the gathering from the Livre de Chasse, a manuscript that first caught my attention when I was looking for inspiration for male clothing.

Reading Edward of Norwich’s translation of the book, this is what Gaston has to say about the meal at the gathering:

”And also they that come from home, and all the officers that come from home should bring thither all that they need, every one in his office, well and plenteously, and should lay the towels and board clothes all about upon the green grass, and set divers meats upon a great platter* after the lord’s power. And some should eat sitting, and some standing, and some leaning upon their elbows, some should drink, some laugh, some jangle, some joke and some play—in short do all manner of disports of gladness”

*G. de F. (p. 151) says “in great plenty,” not “upon a great platter.
Note from E. of N.’s translation

So meat in great plenty is apparently a theme at the gathering. Looking at the picture I believe I’m identifying the following food items:

  1. Some type of bird (chicken?) on plates
  2. A pie being served
  3. Bread (buns or slices) on the table and on the tablecloths
  4. Some (or several) type of drink being chilled in the stream
Detail from Livre de chasse, Paris, BnF, Ms. fr. 616, fol. 67r.

Something is possible being eaten/served from bowls (far right and to the right in the table). The men to the right are also eating something that resembles a small leek. No idea what that could be. Also, noticing the small raisin-like shapes on the table? That’s not raisins, it a scout showing the droppings of the animal he has tracked so that the master can decide what to hunt.

Looking at corresponding illuminations in other manuscipts doesn’t give any more visual information. In MS fr 617 (also at BnF), from the 15th century, the motif is similar but with more fashionable clothes and in less detail. MS-3252 (last quarter of 15th century) at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal (part of BnF) shows even less details with som loaf-like shapes on a table.

Next up: written information.

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