The use of gold in luxury objects and pre-Eyckian Netherlandish painting

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Prior to the ars nova, early Netherlandish and northern French panel paintings (at least those few which survive) usually include significant quantities of ostentatiously worked gold leaf, contributing to the ethos of luxurious material objects that had long characterized French courts.37 The first Valois Burgundian duke, Philip the Bold, was the youngest brother of the French king Charles V and the dukes of Anjou and Berry, and his patronage promulgated French aesthetics while taking advantage of artistic talent from the Netherlands, parts of which he acquired in the late fourteenth century through his marriage to Margaret of Flanders.38 Philip's descendants, the successive dukes John the Fearless, Philip the Good, and Charles the Bold, continued in the same vein over the next century. As measured by financial records, inventories, and ambassadorial reports, the court favoured and used to its advantage artworks that showcased their material value. By the time of Philip the Good and Charles the Bold, Burgundy was widely recognized as the most prosperous of all European courts, with its patronage of the arts taken as an envied model.39

The luxury objects patronized by the aristocracy throughout the fifteenth century were composed of ostentatiously rich materials, for instance metalwork and jewellery in the challenging ronde-bosse enamel technique first invented shortly before the turn of the century, including the Goldenes Rössl given by Isabeau of Bavaria to her husband Charles VI (Philip the Bold's nephew) in 1405 (Fig. 1).40 These objects are constructed of silver gilt or solid gold with figural work in enamel, and profusely decorated with pearls and jewels. The Goldenes Rössl depicts Charles VI kneeling on an elevated platform before the Virgin and Child with figures of Saints Catherine, John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist as children; one servant holds the king's helmet while another attends to his horse.41 Two angels suspend a crown above the Virgin, juxtaposed against an arched trellis decorated with a profusion of golden leaves, white enamel flowers, pearls, and jewels. Gold constitutes the architectural structure, as well as various elements of the figural subjects (such as the angels' wings and John the Evangelist's chalice), while animal, human, and divine flesh as well as white drapery have been transformed into gleaming white enamel, a symbol of purity as well as a remarkable and difficult-to-work substance. The sumptuousness of the object as a whole serves religious and secular purposes simultaneously, expressing the high status both of the Virgin herself and of her royal devotee.

Tapestry and embroidery, made of high-quality wool and/or silk and frequently incorporating metallic thread, offered a similar visual and material splendour, as did the gold textiles worn by the dukes of Burgundy.42 In the case of the liturgical vestments donated by Philip the Good to his newly-founded Order of the Golden Fleece (Fig. 2), rows of tiny pearls adorn the profuse gold and silk threads, and far more than they do today, such fabrics would have shimmered in the light when new; their vividness in their own time might be best imagined through a modern example, the glittering evening suit designed by Coco Chanel around 1965.43 Gold thread is used in multiple ways in these vestments: to represent saints' halos, to represent the brocade or other metallic detail in textiles, to represent highlights, and to enliven the architectural settings and the decorative elements between the scenes. Thus gold here portrays light, it stands in for itself (as gold in represented textiles), and it also has a more general visual effect, turning the whole surface into a visual spectacle.44 A further example of ostentatious courtly luxury appears in another rare survival, a gilded metalwork triptych now in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, made around 1400-20 in the Netherlands or northern France (Fig. 3).45 In the central panel, Christ on the cross and the figures attending the crucifixion are rendered in silver relief against the gilded background, while the two crucified thieves and the side wing scenes depicting the way to Calvary and the disrobing of Christ, as well as the Annunciation on the closed wings, are created by pointillé, dots punched into the gold ground. They can only be seen properly if light falls onto the surface in such a way as to highlight the stamped designs, otherwise they blend into the background (Fig. 3a), so that anyone who used this object for private devotions (or simply picked it up to admire it) would have needed to find the right angle for viewing according to the immediate lighting conditions. In fact the action of reflected light plays a critical role for all of these objects, emphasizing their physical brilliance as objects, which would have been far more apparent in the fifteenth century when they were actively used rather than (as now) viewed in glass cases. At the same time, their material sumptuousness is closely related to their liturgical or meditative appeal, since the play of light on gleaming rare substances was not merely an ostentatious display of wealth but an evocation of the heavenly realm.46 These aesthetic qualities characterized Burgundian luxury objects throughout the fifteenth century.

Painted panels from the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century generally participate in this courtly ethos. Very few panels survive from northern Europe prior to the 1420s, in contrast to Italy, where the influence of imported Byzantine icons evidently spurred the development of gold-ground religious panels in the thirteenth century, particularly following the Fourth Lateran Council's requirements for more altarpieces.47 The earliest extant Netherlandish panel, the epitaph of Hendrik van Rijn, a canon from a patrician family at St Jan in Utrecht, dates to 1363 (Fig. 4),48 and only a couple dozen further painted panels survive prior to 1420. There is no way of knowing to what extent these small numbers are due to the vagaries of fortune—especially given the Low Countries' long history of iconoclasm and warfare—or because painted panels simply developed later and in fewer numbers there than in Italy. In any case, most of the extant works show strong visual associations with courtly objects: Hendrik van Rijn's epitaph sets the painted crucifixion and donor portrait against a background made of gilded relief, imitating embossed metalwork, and the visual effect of the paint against the gold is also analogous to enameled gold objects such as the Royal Gold Cup in the British Museum, given by Jean duke of Berry to his nephew Charles VI in 1391.49 The painting's frame, which dates to the nineteenth century but perhaps copies an original, is covered in painted trompe-l'oeil jewels; other early painted panels like the thirteenth-century Westminster Retable and a few late fourteenth-century Netherlandish works used inset glass to imitate gems and cloisonné enamel.50 In this case, panel painting does appear to be at least partially a surrogate luxury, although it still incorporates large quantities of gold leaf, and perhaps the patron and artist(s) expected viewers to admire its persuasive likeness to solid metalwork rather than consider it a lesser imitation.

Many surviving pre-Eyckian paintings were made for courtly circles, including the panels commissioned by Philip the Bold for the Carthusian monastery he founded in Champmol, near Dijon in his French duchy of Burgundy. Several of the artists who worked on objects for Champmol came from the Netherlands, including the sculptors Jacques de Baerze (Fig. 29) and Claus Sluter, and the painters Melchior Broederlam (Fig. 30), Jean de Beaumetz (Fig. 5), Jean Malouel (or Jehan Maelwael, uncle of the manuscript illuminators the Limbourg brothers), and Henri Bellechose (Fig. 6).51 Beaumetz was commissioned to paint 26 panels for the monks' cells, two of which are thought to survive, in Paris and Cleveland (Fig. 5). Similarly to the much larger Van Rijn epitaph, each depicts Christ on the cross with John to the right and the three Maries to the left, and next to John a kneeling Carthusian monk at the base of the cross.52 The background in the Louvre panel is badly abraded, although the gold lining the hem of the Virgin's mantle is better preserved; the panel in Cleveland omits gold from the figures' clothing, but the background surface is in good condition, with tendrils punched into the ground filling the space around the painted figures, again in imitation of metal objects. Although some medieval commentators such as Bernard of Clairvaux would have disapproved of the gold,53 these are still comparatively simple works for private devotion, and the gold leaf serves a primarily meditative purpose, abstracting the scene into a timeless spiritual realm, in keeping with the stripped-down nature of the depicted narrative and the austere character of the Carthusian order.

Another painting made for Champmol served a more public function and displays greater artistic refinement, the large Altarpiece of St Denis possibly begun by Jean Malouel and completed by Henri Bellechose, the successive court painters to Philip the Bold and John the Fearless (Fig. 6).54 The gold background again provides a suitable religious setting, eliminating the normal spatial and chronological boundaries to depict the close relationship between Christ and the third-century saint Denis; but it is also exploited here for distinctly aesthetic purposes, to create striking visual interplays between flat ground and spatial projection. For example, similarly to the Beaumetz panel in the Louvre, the gold bands decorating the vestments of Denis, Eleutherius, and Rusticus in the right half of the image are easily decipherable elements of the figural representation, but the gold of Denis' miter partially merges into the flat gold ground against which it is silhouetted, as does Christ's halo, tunic, and chalice to the left where he administers Denis' final communion in prison. Abrasion to the picture surface, exacerbated by its transfer from panel onto canvas, has greatly affected its appearance, but, even so, the original intention must have been to enhance the figures' sense of divinity while also creating a flickering back-and-forth between ground and extension, comparable to the pointillé elements of the gilded triptych (Fig. 3). This work may have been intended for a Carthusian church, but, commissioned as it was by the duke of Burgundy from his court painter, its visual sophistication and artistic luxury matches that of any courtly object, as did the circular Pietà probably painted by Malouel for Philip's personal use.55

Given that this altarpiece is painted in the International Gothic style, which characteristically blends naturalistic detail with stylization, the spatial interplays between surface and depth seem entirely appropriate to the image's artistic intentions. In fact virtually all courtly artistic objects capitalize on striking intersections between naturalistic forms, rare materials, and carefully calculated artistic effects: narrative scenes are fashioned of shiny silk thread, flesh is created with enamel, plant forms devised in gold. Viewers are expected to recognize simultaneously the represented forms and the attractive materials with which those forms are crafted. Thus the luxury arts integrate distinctive material qualities with distinctive artistic skill. That was also true of miniature illumination, which, in the early fifteenth century, presented increasingly naturalistic imagery—particularly in the highly innovative work of the Limbourg brothers—but within profusely decorated manuscripts whose material luxury remained at the forefront. The Limbourgs' work anticipates the impending ars nova style of painting in its focus on natural detail, qualities that are most advanced in their last work, the Très Riches Heures left incomplete at their deaths from the plague in 1416. In earlier manuscripts, such as the Petites Heures and Belles Heures (Fig. 7), the miniatures are surrounded with other artists' border decoration in a traditional style—usually a shimmering mass of gold and painted leaves, initials, and frames56—and the Limbourgs' own miniature backgrounds are most often abstract patterns, though some outdoor scenes depict blue sky instead. Both types of setting are seen on the Belles Heures unbound bifolium (Fig. 7) depicting the stigmatization of St Francis (at folio 171 in the bound book) and the martyrdom of St Ursula (folio 178v): in the former, the compression created by the patterned backdrop enhances the intimate nature of Francis' spiritual epiphany, while in the latter the blue sky and high distant horizon complement the narrative of Ursula's extensive travels preceding her martyrdom. Both images are surrounded by glittering frames and marginal decoration.

The Très Riches Heures, begun sometime around 1410-1413, marks a significant shift. A higher proportion of the miniatures (though not all) depict sky or full interior backgrounds, and the border decoration—where it appears at all—is of a markedly different character, as seen in the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish (Fig. 8), which Millard Meiss perceived as one of the few pages whose combination of text, initial, border decoration, and miniature fully carries out the Limbourgs' initial conception for the book. The miniature background is still patterned with gold and blue, but the relatively sparse and large-scale marginal imagery depicts naturalistic groups of larkspurs and snails; other pages show different imagery or foliage, each individually designed. Meiss argued that during the course of the volume's production the Limbourgs came to see the traditional decorative page as contradictory to their miniature imagery, so they began instead producing full-page images without text or border decoration to preface each section of the Hours, similar in conception to the famous calendar images at the beginning of the manuscript (Fig. 9).57 Meiss' hypotheses are still subject to debate,58 but at the very least it is clear that the Limbourgs' miniatures signal a growing concern for the internal consistency of the pictorial field and greater focus on the image itself above its decorative context.

The Très Riches Heures still places great emphasis on material preciousness: most of the miniatures employ extensive gold leaf, as with the zodiacal signs at the top of the calendar pages, clothing details, and halos and heavenly rays.59 Moreover, the deep blue pigment used for some of the drapery and for depicted skies—ultramarine—was itself worth as much as gold, since it was extracted with much effort from the rare mineral lapis lazuli, imported at great expense from Afghanistan.60 In that regard there is something of a paradox in the introduction of sky to miniatures, since although it creates a more persuasive illusion of reality than a patterned ground—especially when the mixture is subtly lightened towards the horizon to give an impression of atmospheric depth, as in the Limbourgs' April and Martyrdom of St Ursula (Fig. 7, Fig. 9)—it also maintains or even enhances the manuscript's material expense. Analogous to the courtly joyaux which transformed saintly flesh into ronde-bosse enamel, the ethereal heavens depicted with ultramarine convey a distinctly material value, at least to those trained to recognize the colour's significance. Still, while the Limbourgs themselves remained exemplars of International Gothic courtly art, they and others among their contemporary illuminators developed at least some of the new artistic ideas which coalesced a few years later in the ars nova style of Netherlandish panel painting.61

The panel painters who began working in this new style focused their attention and innovations on the persuasiveness of representation, though they must have retained a keen awareness of the price of their materials. Panel painters continued to use ultramarine, prized for its unmatchably rich colour (though sometimes reserved for glazes over the much less expensive azurite),62 and extant contracts and guild statutes sometimes explicitly prohibit the substitution of glazed metal foil for gold, or low grades of blue pigment for high-quality ultramarine, if the latter had been contracted.63 Throughout the fifteenth century painters also continued to apply extensive gold leaf to sculpted figures and carved altarpieces.64 Moreover, no scholars have perceived in extant Netherlandish written documents any clear shift in interest, as Michael Baxandall observed over the course of fifteenth-century Italian painting contracts, from material value earlier in the century to the display of artistic skill by the end.65

Even so, early Netherlandish panels themselves display a distinct change in the techniques and purpose of gilding with the introduction of the ars nova­, and those changes mark a decisive shift from the appeal of luxury objects for aristocratic patrons, which depended heavily on their financial value—in times of crisis they would readily be sold or melted down to retrieve their economic liquidity.66 There are only occasional traces in extant documentary records suggesting that those who could afford the highest of luxuries also fully appreciated the artists' skills in their own right. One instance concerns the court painter Malouel, whose salary was supposed to be paid by the Dijon bailliage, but because of repeated delays and interruptions John the Fearless decided in 1412 that Malouel's wages should thenceforth be paid out of the reliable revenue from the salt mines at Salins. After Malouel's death in March 1415, the duke awarded a substantial life annuity from the same source to Malouel's widow, who had accompanied her husband to Burgundy from their native Guelders and had no other means to support herself and their four children. The Salins accounts, seemingly at pains to explain why these payments were charged against such an unusual source, state in lengthy detail that they reflected the painter's many great works (plusieurs grans et notables ouvraiges; choses excellantes), his status as one of the masters of his craft (l'ung des bons ouvriers de son mestier), and his loyal service to John's father Philip the Bold and subsequently to John himself.67 A similar sentiment was expressed two decades later by John's son Philip the Good when he reprimanded his treasurer in Lille for not paying Jan van Eyck's salary on time, warning that the painter might leave his service and his equal would never be found (nous trouverions point le pareil a nostre gre ne si excellent en son art et science).68 It is striking that this missive survives on paper (whereas most of the documents preserved from the Burgundian court are final records on parchment), thus perhaps hinting at a mostly lost array of day-to-day exchanges which may have expressed more opinions on art than survive today.69

Another rare indication of courtly appreciation for talent per se appears in the posthumous inventory of the duke of Berry, renowned for his art collections and architectural patronage.70 In 1411, he was given a deceptive New Year's gift by the Limbourg brothers in his employ, a trompe-l'oeil book made of wood, covered in velvet and two silver clasps with the arms of the duke in enamel. The cover thus evidently retained some material value, but as the inventory explains, the book itself had no pages and nothing written in it, so its cost would have been minimal compared to real manuscripts.71 It seems that the duke fully appreciated the joke, given that it was still in his possession at his death, although his amusement must have depended on the fact that he already owned dozens of the real thing, including the Limbourgs' own Belles Heures (Fig. 7).

The Limbourgs' joke turned on the viewer first being fooled, and subsequently discovering the object's true materiality. The epitaph for Hendrik van Rijn (Fig. 4), in contrast, surely did not use mimesis of metalwork as an intentional in-joke, but to achieve the optimal visual impact by the best means available. The new Eyckian form of painting had yet another purpose: it aimed not so much to trick the eye, either seriously or in jest, but rather to perpetually astonish with its capacity to create whole worlds out of mere paint. And that capacity alone, rather than its material components, constituted its value.

37 Barbara Baert, 'Between technique and symbolism: notes on the meaning of the use of gold in pre-Eyckian panel painting', in Pre-Eyckian Panel Painting in the Low Countries, ed. Cyriel Stroo (Brussels, 2009), vol. 2, 7-22.

38 Stephen N. Fliegel and Sophie Jugie, eds, Art from the Court of Burgundy: The Patronage of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless 1364-1419 (Cleveland, 2004).

39 Smith, 'The practical logistics of art', 32-43; Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance, esp. ch. 2-4.

40 Other extant examples of ronde-bosse work include the the Holy Thorn Reliquary made for Jean duke of Berry, possibly intended for a member of his brother Philip the Bold's family, the Estergom Crucifixion given by Margaret of Flanders to Philip the Bold in 1403, and the collection of broaches in the Essen cathedral treasury. Eva Kovacs, L'age d'or de l'orfèvrerie parisienne au temps des princes de Valois (Dijon, 2004); Elisabeth Taburet-Delayahe, ed., Paris 1400: les arts sous Charles VI (Paris, 2004), 165-80; John Cherry, The Holy Thorn Reliquary (London, 2010); Birgitta Falk, Der Essener Domschatz (Essen, 2009), 122.

41 For detailed description and analysis see Reinhold Baumstark, ed., Das goldene Rössl: Ein Meisterwerk der Pariser Hofkunst um 1400 (Munich, 1995).

42 Smith, 'The practical logistics of art', 32; Margaret Scott, 'The role of dress in the image of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy', in Morrison and Kren, Flemish Manuscript Painting in Context, 43-56.

43 Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1983.49A-D.

44 Helmut Trnek, 'The liturgical vestments of the Order of the Golden Fleece', in Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: The Secular and Ecclesiastical Treasuries: Illustrated Guide (Vienna, 1991), 208-24; Marti, Borchert, and Keck, Charles the Bold, 1433-1477, 62-71.

45 Johnathan J. G. Alexander, 'A metalwork triptych of the Passion of Christ in the Metropolitan Museum, New York,' Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 46/47 (1994): 27-36.

46 Baert, 'Between technique and symbolism', 8-9; Marina Belozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance (London, 2005), 50-56; Gombrich, 'Visual metaphors of value in art', 15-16.

47 Baert, 'Between technique and symbolism', 12; Hans Belting, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image Before the Era of Art, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Chicago, 1994), esp. 349-54, 377-408.

48 On the painting see M.O. Renger, 'The Calvary of Hendrik van Rijn,' Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen  (1993): 9-45 and Ingrid Geelen and Delphine Steyaert, Imitation and Illusion: Applied Brocade in the Art of the Low Countries in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Turnhout, 2011), 40-43.

49 Bruno Donzet and Christian Siret, eds, Les fastes du gothique: le siècle de Charles V (Paris, 1981), cat. no. 213.

50  Ingrid Geelen and Delphine Steyaert, ''Ende wyldyt anders yet verheuen maken...' Relief decorations in the art of around 1400', in Stroo, Pre-Eyckian Panel Painting, vol. 2, 153-82, at 160-64; Binski and Massing, The Westminster Retable, 107-35. Geelen and Steyaert, Imitation and Illusion, 42 note that the Van Rijn frame dates to the 19th century, although the imitation jewels are mentioned without that qualification in Stroo, Pre-Eyckian Panel Painting, vol. 1, 398.

51 Fliegel and Jugie, Art from the Court of Burgundy, 167-263.

52 Ibid., 202, cat. no. 71A-B.

53 Baert, 'Between technique and symbolism', 10.

54 Fliegel and Jugie, Art from the Court of Burgundy, 198-99.

55 Taburet-Delayahe, Paris 1400, 294, cat. no. 183.

56 See Timothy B. Husband, The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry (New York, New Haven, and London, 2008), 63-73.

57 Millard Meiss, French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Limbourgs and Their Contemporaries (New York, 1974), 178-84; Husband, The Art of Illumination, 64-65.

58 Patricia Stirnemann, 'The king of illuminated manuscripts: the Très Riches Heures', in The Limbourg Brothers: Nijmegen Masters at the French Court, 1400-1416, ed. Rob Dückers and Pieter Roelofs (Nijmegen, 2005), 113-19. Meiss was incorrect in asserting that borders were always completed before the painting of miniatures; see Robert G. Calkins, 'Stages of execution: procedures of illumination as revealed in an unfinished book of hours,' Gesta 17, no. 1 (1978): 61-70.

59 Margaret Lawson, 'The Belles Heures of Jean, duc de Berry. The materials and techniques of the Limbourg brothers', in Dückers and Roelofs, The Limbourg Brothers, 149-63, at 154.

60 Ibid., 154-56, 160; Molly Faries and Ron Spronk, eds, Recent Developments in the Technical Examination of Early Netherlandish Painting: Methodology, Limitations & Perspectives (Cambridge, Turnhout, 2003), 9-10; Jo Kirby, 'The price of quality: factors influencing the cost of pigments during the Renaissance', in Revaluing Renaissance Art, ed. Gabriele Neher and Rupert Shepherd (Aldershot, 2000), 19-42, at 23-24.

61 Smeyers and Cardon, 'Campin and illumination'. The primacy of manuscripts made in France as a model for Netherlandish panel painting was intelligently critiqued in Van Buren, 'Thoughts, old and new', though her arguments arguably underestimate how easily and widely artistic ideas circulated; see for instance Gregory T. Clark, 'The influence of the Limbourg brothers in France and the southern Netherlands, 1400-1460', in Dückers and Roelofs, The Limbourg Brothers, 209-35, and Rob Dückers, 'A close encounter? The Limbourg brothers and illumination in the northern Netherlands in the first half of the fifteenth century', in Reflections on the Origins and the Legacy of Three Illuminators from Nijmegan, ed. Rob Dückers and Pieter Roelofs (Leiden, 2009), 149-89.

62 Rachel Billinge et al., 'Methods and materials of northern European painting in the National Gallery, 1400?1550,' National Gallery Technical Bulletin 18 (1997): 6-55, at 34-38.

63 Ibid., 8-11; Kirby, 'The price of quality', 21.

64 Lynn F. Jacobs, Early Netherlandish Carved Altarpieces, 1380-1550: Medieval Tastes and Mass Marketing (Cambridge, 1998), 100, 210-12.

65 Baxandall, Painting and Experience, 14-23.

66 Jean-Pierre Van Rijen, 'Precious metalwork in gold leaf. Everyday lustre at the court of Jean de Berry, as depicted by the Limbourg brothers', in Dückers and Roelofs, The Limbourg Brothers, 165-77, at 165.

67 Dijon, ADCO, B 5967, fol. 38v-39v (Salins accounts 1413-14); Dijon, ADCO, B 5968, fol. 37v-39v (Salins accounts 1414-15). The documents are transcribed in Friedrich Gorissen, 'Jan Maelwael und die Brüder Limburg: eine Nimweger Künstlerfamilie um die Wende des 14. Jahrhunderts,' Bijdragen en Mededelingen Gelre 54 (1954): 153-221, at 206-07, 212-13; the first is listed under 14 January 1411, the date reported in the document as when the original decision was made, though in modern dating that was 1412.

68 Lille, ADN, B 1955 no. 57011 (13 March 1435). The document was first transcribed in Léon Emmanuel Simon J. Laborde, Les Ducs de Bourgogne: études sur les lettres, les arts et l'industrie pendant le XVe siècle et plus particulièrement dans les Pays-Bas et le duché de Bourgogne (Paris, 1849-52), vol. 1, LIII.

69 My thanks to Mark Ormrod for suggesting this significance of paper vs. parchment in response to my presentation 'Reconstructing the lives of Burgundian court artists' at the Late Medieval French Studies Conference, York, 11 July 2009.

70 Husband, The Art of Illumination, 12-26.

71 'Item, un livre contrefait d'une piece de bois paincte en semblance d'un livre, ou il n'a nuls fueillets ne riens escript; convert de veluiau blanc, a deux fermouers d'argent dorez, esmaillez aux armes de Monseigneur; lequel livre Pol de Limbourc et ses deux freres donnerent a mondit Seigneur ausdictes estrainnes mil CCCC et X.' Jules Guiffrey, Inventaires de Jean duc de Berry (1401-1416) (Paris, 1894-96), vol. 1, 265, no. 994. The gift is dated 1410 according to the calendar system then in use. On the practice of New Year's gifts (étrennes) see Brigitte Buettner, 'Past presents: New Year's gifts at the Valois courts, ca. 1400,' Art Bulletin 83, no. 4 (2001): 598-625.



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