MASTER of the Hours of Maréchal de Boucicaut
(active 1405-1420 in Paris)
Livre des Merveilles du Monde1410-12
Manuscript (Ms. français 2810), 420 x 298 mm
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
The Book of Wonders contains the French translations of some of the most famous descriptions of mediaeval journeys to exotic destinations, among them Marco Polo's accounts of the mercantile voyages that took him to China. The manuscript was completed around 1410-12 for the Burgundian Duke John the Fearless (reigned 1404-1419).
The 297 folios of the manuscript contains 84 large, and numerous smaller scale miniatures. The bulk of these gorgeous miniatures was created by the Boucicaut Master, while the Bedford Master and several other anonymous illuminators completed a smaller group of miniatures.
Full of vibrant colours, the miniature on folio 86v illustrates the unloading of ships in the Gulf of Cambay, India, in front of a veduta of a town entirely lacking in exotic features, and which could be anywhere in Late Mediaeval Europe.