The Talbot Shrewsbury Book (Normandy, 1444-45)

On Art and Aesthetics

Talbot, with his dog, presenting the book to Queen Margaret of Anjou (beside King Henry VI), detail from the frontispiece of the Talbot Shrewsbury Book, Wikipedia [Public Domain] The Talbot Shrewsbury Book is a large illuminated manuscript created in the French city of Rouen (Normandy) around 1444-45. It was a gift from John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury (1384/1387-1453) – an English military commander during the Hundred Years’ War – to the French princess Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482). It was meant to celebrate her betrothal to King Henry VI of England (1422-1461).

The manuscript is a collection of fifteen texts in French. These are chivalric romances, treatises on warfare, chansons de geste (epic poems) and Statutes of the Order of the Garter (a chivalric order founded by King Edward III in 1348, still active).

Among the heroic figures who appear in the book are Charlemagne and Alexander the Great (hidden in a…

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