A Valentine's gift to top all Valentine's gifts - the Petit Livre d’Amour (Little Book of Love) was an ornate bespoke book given by the 16th-century Lyon-born poet Pierre Salas to his then lover and future wife Marguerite Bullioud. It measures just 5 by 3.7 inches, hand-written by Salas with gold ink and beautifully illuminated by an artist identified as the "Master of the Chronique scandaleuseas". The work begins with a few pages of prose describing the relationship between the author and the woman he loves before then presenting the rest of the book, 12 "iconologues", a combination of prose and poetry on the left-hand page - including the initials M, for Marguerite and P, for Pierre, scattered about in various forms - and on the right-hand page a corresponding picture. Five of these relate to love, the others to more moral topics, but all turning away from a sickly-sweet tone, instead portraying a more realistic picture of love. Here below we've picked out some highlights from the book.
Feb 14, 2014