William Sterling

Jean Duc de Berry

Jean Duc de Berry and Mediaeval Art Patronage

Son, brother and uncle of successive French kings, Jean was one of the great patrons of art. Using objects in the British Museum and elsewhere we examined his legacy and those of his contemporaries in mediaeval patronage of art, particularly objects associated with power and religion. The Duc de Berry was famous in his own time and since as a patron of the arts.

Although many of the works he commissioned have been lost there are a few that can still be studied including two in the British Museum. His patronage was compared with that of other Mediaeval benefactors, especially royalty, some of whose pieces can also be seen in the Museum. Using slides the two objects from the Museum (the Royal Cup of France and England and the Holy Thorn Reliquary) were studied in detail before viewing them at the museum in the afternoon. Slides of the famous Tres Riches Heures, the beautifully illustrated manuscripts by the Limbourg Brothers and others which are in the Musee Conde, were also shown and the works were discussed in detail. Other patrons included English and French kings and the art works included the paintings from the old palace of Westminster, the royal gittern, the Dunstable swan and Lothar Crystal.

I ran this course at the City Lit and at the British Museum in February 2011 and January 2017.

Below are some of the resources from the course

A Timeline for the Life and Times of Jean Duc de Berry


The Slides as printable handouts

Jean duc de Berry 2017 printable handout

tres riches heures 2017 printable handout

other hours 2017 printable handout

Royal Cup 2017 printable handout

Holy Thorn Reliquary 2017 printable handout