A Comparison of the Illuminations of Liber Regalis with those of the Coronation Book of Charles V of France
York Medieval Yearbook, ISSUE No. 1, (2002)
The immediately apparent contrast between the illuminations which accompany the coronation ordo of Liber Regalis, and those which illustrate the Coronation Book of the French king, derives, fundamentally, from the adoption of the “king in majesty” symbolism in the former, as opposed to the individualised narrative of the latter. The explanation for the parallel existence of two such different approaches has long been articulated within a teleological framework concerned to chart the relative progress of different regions towards “naturalism” in representation. Thus this model explained their coexistence in terms of a disparity in technical skill: the French were able to specifically depict Charles V in their coronation book, while the English artists were only able to produce a standard “king in majesty” type in their equivalent. In demonstrating the inadequacy of this approach, it is the fact that Liber Regalis is not the English equivalent of the French Coronation Book, which must be brought to the fore.