Although a small group of artists worked on the illustration of the Missal, it
would have taken a long time to finish, and it must have been an important commis¬
sion for the atelier.3 Possibly it was ordered by a confrère who belonged to the Third
Order of St. Francis and wanted a Missal for the church where he worshipped.4 Fig¬
ures of Franciscan priests who say Mass, preach, chant, pray and tend to the needs of
their people recur throughout the series of miniatures. In addition, many of the Col¬
lects and a few of the Introit miniatures depict men who are not tonsured, but wear a
form of religious habit. They are not all young, so it seems unlikely that they are
intended to be novices of the First Order of St. Francis. While the depiction of such
clothing could merely reflect the artist’s desire to vary the appearance of the laity, it
is evident that these figures do not occur in random fashion and that they usually
occur in miniatures beside texts which could relate to the spiritual life and duties of a
confrère. They are seen in Lent, Holy Week and during the season of Pentecost as
well as at other times throughout the Liturgical Year. If these figures do represent
confrères, they add even greater historical interest to the Missal because they give
some insight into their lives. By contrast with the abundance of surviving documen¬
tation about Italian confraternities, very little can be found concerning Franciscan
confraternities in medieval France.
There is little evidence for the very early provenance of MS Douce 313.5 It is
not until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that one can find definite links with
Bonneval-les-Thouars and the great Benedictine Abbey of St. Jean. This evidence is
a scribbled reference to Isabeau de Châtillon de Vivonne (Abbess of St. Jean,
1590-1632) on f. cccxxxix, an inscription on the front flyleaf to Elizabeth de
Châtillon (Abbess, 1646-1668), and a note on the back flyleaf which records that the
second last of the long line of the de Châtillon abbesses, Madeleine-Angelique-
Marie (Abbess, 1676-1708) gave the manuscript to the provincial administrator
F.J. Foucault in 1703.6
Manuscript Douce 313 would not have been commissioned for use in a large
Benedictine Abbey such as St. Jean. Both its Sanctoral and its rubrics are inade¬
quate for such a purpose, and even the scribbled marginal notes and cross-references
add nothing specifically Benedictine to the text.7
How it came to the Abbey is still a mystery. One definite lead is in the history
of the families of some of the abbesses: their names survive, but unfortunately there
are no records of any other members of the community. These abbesses came from
great families—de Sully, de Thouars, de Parthenay, de Brézé, de Rochechouart, de
Chasteigner, de Maillé, de Vivonne, de Châtillon, and many others. Their lands
often included towns and villages where a Franciscan house had been established
3 Condon Chap. X, 68-72.
4 I have argued this elsewhere: “The Franciscan Confrères in the Illustration of a Fourteenth Centu¬
ry Missal (MS Douce 313),” Bodleian Library Record (1988): 18-29.
5 I have examined the evidence for the provenance in “The Mystery of the Provenance of a Four¬
teenth Century Missal,” Scriptorium XXXV (1981): 295-303, and in “The Franciscan Confrères...,”
6 See A.C. de la Mare in The Douce Legacy. (Bodleian Library: Oxford, 1984) 45.
7 Condon, MS Douce 313..., 16.
AN UNUSUAL PENTECOST CYCLE
during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, either long before or at about the time
the manuscript was illustrated.8
A Franciscan church, particularly when situated in a town, often had a lay con¬
fraternity attached to it. It is likely that many members of these noble families were
Franciscan tertiaries and that one of them might have considered a Missal like MS
Douce 313 a suitable offering to the church. The Missal need not have been
presented to the friars. It may have been intended for use in the church but still been
retained by the family. If, on the other hand, it had been presented to the friars, it
may have been taken by them from one place to another since nothing in its text res¬
tricts its use to a particular church, diocese or Franciscan province.
The manuscript is unusual in that it illustrates almost all the Introits, Lessons,
Epistles and Gospels of the Liturgical Year and the Commons of the Saints, Votive
Masses and Requiem Masses. In the Sanctoral only the more important feasts have
three miniatures. The minor feasts have only an Introit miniature because their
Masses are largely comprised of cross-references to other texts. For each Votive
Collect there is also a illustration. It is well worth examining the style and iconogra¬
phy of these miniatures to see how the artist in charge of the programme set about
the task of illustrating such a vast number of texts without any duplication. His
understanding of the text is not always good and he was limited by the compara¬
tively small number of types of figures, faces, buildings, trees, animals (etc.) in the
repertoire of the artists who worked with him on the manuscript. However, such is
his ingenuity that, though some miniatures are similar, no two are exactly alike. I
focus here on the Pentecost Cycle. It is rare for a Missal to have so many miniatures
for the Vigil, Feast and Octave of Pentecost.
The Pentecost Cycle of MS Douce 313 9
MS Douce 313 illustrates the following texts:10
8 See the relevant entries in J.H. Moorman’s Medieval Franciscan Houses (New York, 1986). The
following notes suggest areas, but not their precise lands which, of course, could be altered greatly ei¬
ther by war or by marriage contract:
Sully: it is doubtful that there was a Franciscan foundation here.
Thouars: founded either 1330 or 1358.
Parthenay: founded before 1269.
(de Chasteigner) Fountenay-le-Comte: founded before 1389.
(de Brézé) Saumur: founded before 1229.
(de Rochechouart) Soissons: founded in 1228.
(de Maillé) Fontenay-le-Comte and Tours, founded c. 1267.
(de Vivonne) Angôuleme: founded c. 1230, and Poitiers, founded in either 1248 or 1267.
(de Châtillon) Blois: founded by 1233. Châtillon (Burgundy) was founded in 1226, but there is
no record of a Franciscan foundation in Châtillon-sur-Loire or in Montleon.
Brive: founded 1224.
Bourges: founded 1228.
9 The comparative material which is cited here is only a small part of the material which has been
10 See Condon, MS Douce 313... 122—167 for the full catalogue.