Early 15th Century passport (Safe Conduct)

A small collection of documents including a rare and early Safe Conduct concerning the Dukes of Burgundy, in French and Dutch, manuscript documents on paper and parchment [England and The Netherlands, dated 13 July 1411, 1470, and 3 April and 28 May 1471] Early 15th Century passport

Five documents (those in Dutch forming two sets of attached double documents, joined at their lefthand edges): letter of ‘Sauf Conduit’, that is a passport giving safe passage, granted by Thomas Pickworth, lieutenant of Calais for the Prince of Wales (Henry of Monmouth, 1386-1422, later King Henry IV) to visit Thierry Gherbode, counsellor and archivist to the Duke of Burgundy, to discuss differences between the duke and the English, in French on paper, in 26 long lines of an Continental secretarial hand, elongated calligraphic cadels to ascenders of opening words, endorsed with scribal mark like an angular petalled version of the so-called ‘clover’ symbol at foot, embossed with red wax seal in blank margin at foot of document (30mm. diameter; with Pickworth arms with three pickaxes), endorsed on reverse in French by seventeenth- or eighteenth-century hand as well as Phillipp’s number (see below), 270 by 300mm., dated Calais 13 July 1411; (ii) four letters of Charles ‘the bold’,duke of Burgundy, to Caius, his lord “van den Raide”, on 24, 30, 13 and 21 long lines, respectively, in Dutch secretarial script, scribal mark of “Lodovicus” at foot of two of them (and all four in a single scribal hand), with red wax seals on face of documents in margin and on seal tags cut horizontally from feet, 210 by 350mm. and 240 by 360mm., both dated 1470, and 160 by 330mm. and 260 by 360mm., “Hollant” and dated 3 April and 28 May 1471; all with folds and small stains, else good condition, all laid down on three cards. Early 15th Century passport

Early 15th Century passport

The [tem here first emerged in the Southwell papers (the archive of Sir Robert Southwell [1635-1702] and his son Edward Southwell [1671-1730], both serving as secretaries of State for Ireland), these disbursed by the London bookseller, Thomas Thorpe, in catalogs issued from 1834 to 1836, with many acquired by Sir Thomas Phillipps (and thence sold by Sotheby’s, 4 April 1977, lot 140, and now University of Pennsylvania). Phillipps also owned this document, and it is endorsed by him with his acquisition number: “10165”, on its reverse. All three documents passed through the hands of E.H. Dring (1863-1928), and his son E.M. Dring (1906-1990), to the Schøyen Collection via the London book-dealership Quaritch. Early 15th Century passport

4 Comments

  1. Beautiful Dutch passports! Very early valuable pieces, and with complete history of possession. Don’t see these very often in public.
    Thank you for sharing.
    (and you can update your presentation too )

  2. Unbelievable! You need a completely different set of skills to to find such old passports. Well done. And wishing you lots more successes and also a healthy and happy Christmas!

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