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Complete set of writing tablets (six) and case; outer tablets: 1 register, 1 arch across (plaquettes) (Case, side)

Complete set of writing tablets (six) and case; outer tablets: 1 register, 1 arch across (plaquettes) (Case, side)
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Case, top

Case, bottom

Case, side

Case, side

Case, side

Leaf 1 recto

Leaf 2 verso

Leaf 3 recto

Leaf 3 verso

Leaf 4 recto

Leaf 4 verso

Leaf 5 recto

Leaf 5 verso

Leaf 6 verso

Leaf 6 recto

Leaf 1 verso

Leaf 2 recto


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Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique-Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België

Ms. IV 1278

Ivory;boiled leather (original case)

Height: 60mm
Width: 30mm
Depth: 0.5mm (inside tablets)

Leaf 1 recto: Crucifixion with the Virgin and saint John the Evangelist.
Leaf 6 verso: Standing Virgin and Child (Vierge glorieuse); two angels holding candlesticks.
Tracery in the spandrels.
Case: foliated decoration; inscription 'IHS' monogram and 'MARIA.

Bousmanne 2002: France, late 14th century.


Recessed to receive wax. Traces of red wax.

This piece consists of six writing tablets, kept in their original leather case. Only the two outer tablets were sculpted on one side. The two outer tablets are recessed on the back. The four central tablets are recessed on both sides to receive wax. Traces of red wax. The leather case measures 69mm x 45mm and has blind-stamped foliated decoration, the 'IHS' monogram and the name 'MARIA' in capital letters. Slots on the side edges aimed at attaching a metal stylus and a piece of string which kept the tablets together.

Private collection, Brussels; bought from the Librairie Claude Van Loock by the Bibliothèque Royale in 1997.

L. Serbat, 'Tablettes à écrire du 14e siècle, in Mémoires de la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France, vol. LXXIII (1914), pp. 301-313.
J.-G. Lemoine, 'Contribution à l'étude des 'Carnets de croquis', in Société des Sciences, Lettres et Arts de Bayonne (January 1961), pp. 1-29 (figs. 9 and 21).
E. Lalou, 'Les tablettes de cire médiévales', in Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes 147 (1989), pp. 123-140 (no. 16, p. 139).
B. Bousmanne, 'A propos d'un carnet à écrire en ivoire du 14e siècle conservé à la Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique', in Als Ich can. Liber Amicorum in Memory of Prof. Dr. Maurits Smeyers (Paris-Leuven-Dudley, MA, 2002), pp. 165-202 [esp. pp. 177-180, ills 4-5].


© Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique-Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Brussels.

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