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Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript Facsimile

March 26, 2015


The Music Library acquired a facsimile edition of the Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut manuscript (MS Vg), published by DIAMM Facsimiles, in 2 volumes. The introduction includes an extensive study by Lawrence Earp which reveals new information about the provenance of the book and the identity of its original owner, the Duc du Berry. Domenic Leo provides an “Art-historical commentary,” and Carla Shapreau a chapter on “The plunder and restitution of Vg: the Nazi era and its aftermath, 1940-49.” Christopher de Hamel discusses the recent history of the book in the Foreword. The facsimile is kept in the Locked Stacks in the Music Library and may be used in the library.

Six manuscripts produced between 1350 and 1390 contain the complete works of poet-musician Guillaume de Machaut. The Ferrell-Vogüé manuscript (MS Vg), copied in the late 1360s and early 1370s, falls in the middle, and lacks a few works contained in the last three manuscripts. MS Vg  includes both the literary and musical works of Machaut’s, his lyrical poems, ballade, rondeau, virelai, complainte, chant royal and lai; his narrative love poems, usually referred to as dits; and his music, motets, lais, ballades, rondeaux, virelais, and Notre Dame Mass. The manuscript includes 118 miniatures produced by nine artists.

The Ferrell-Vogüé Manuscript remained in private hands during the 20th century and was mostly inaccessible. All scholarly work on MS Vg since Friedrich Ludwig’s, by literary, art, and music scholars, was based on a poorly made microfilm copy. The manuscript’s current owners, James E. and Elizabeth J. Ferrell, have placed it on loan to Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge where the manuscript can be consulted by scholars.