Les livres du gouvernement des roys et des princes, Seated prince conversing with scholar, Walters Manuscript W.144, fol. 35v, originally uploaded by Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts.
This early fourteenth century English manuscript is an example of Henri de Gauchy’s French translation of De regimine principum. Giles of Rome first composed the text in Latin for Philip of the Fair around 1277, and it was soon translated into several vernacular languages. Henri de Gauchy’s was the most prolifically copied of the French translations, and remains extant in thirty-one copies, only six of which are of English origin. The quality of the illumination in Walters 144 suggests that this book was destined for a king or member of the nobility, though it has no evidence of ownership prior to 1463. The text is divided into three books, intended to instruct princes on his ethical, economical and political responsibilities: the conduct of the individual, the rule of the family and household, and the governance of the kingdom. Scenes of princes and scholars conversing, and princes instructing their subjects are among the ten miniatures and historiated initials. The book is a member of the Queen Mary Psalter group (BL Royal 2 B VII).