John, Duke of Berry
|Duke of Berry|
Image of John, Duke of Berry from the Très Riches Heures
30 November 1340|
Château de Vincennes
15 June 1416 75) (aged|
Joan of Armagnac|
Joan II, Countess of Auvergne
Jean de Valois, Count of Montpensier|
Bonne, Viscountess of Carlat
Marie, Duchess of Auvergne
|Father||John II of France|
|Mother||Bonne of Bohemia|
John of Berry or John the Magnificent (French: Jean de Berry; 30 November 1340 – 15 June 1416) was Duke of Berry and Auvergne and Count of Poitiers and Montpensier. He was the third son of King John II of France and Bonne of Luxemburg; his brothers were King Charles V of France, Duke Louis I of Anjou and Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy. He is primarily remembered as a collector of the important illuminated manuscripts and other works of art commissioned by him, such as the Très Riches Heures.
He was born at the castle of Vincennes on 30 November 1340. In 1356, he was made Count of Poitou by his father, and in 1358 he was named king's lieutenant of Auvergne, Languedoc, Périgord, and Poitou to administer those regions in his father's name while the king was a captive of the English. When Poitiers was ceded to England in 1360, John II granted John the newly raised duchies of Berry and Auvergne. By the terms of the Treaty of Brétigny, signed that May, John became a hostage of the English Crown and remained in England until 1369. Upon his return to France, his brother, now King Charles V, appointed him lieutenant general for Berry, Auvergne, Bourbonnais, Forez, Sologne, Touraine, Anjou, Maine, and Normandy.
Service as regent
Upon the death of his older brother Charles V in 1380, his son and heir, Charles VI was a minor, so Berry and his brothers, along with the king's maternal uncle the Duke of Bourbon acted as regents. John was also appointed Lieutenant General in Languedoc in November of the same year, where he was forced to deal with a peasants' revolt spurred by heavy taxation in support of the war effort against the English. Following the death of Louis of Anjou in 1384, Berry and his brother Burgundy were the dominant figures in the kingdom. The king ended the regency and took power into his own hands in 1388, giving the governance of the kingdom largely to his father's former ministers, who were political enemies of the king's powerful uncles. John was also stripped of his offices in Languedoc at that time. Berry and Burgundy bided their time, and were soon able to retake power, in 1392, when the King had his first attack of insanity, an affliction which would remain with him throughout his life. The two royal dukes continued to rule until 1402, when the king, in one of his moments of lucidity, took power from them and gave it to his brother Louis, Duke of Orléans.
In his later years, John became a more conciliatory figure in France. After the death of Philip the Bold in 1404, he was the last survivor of the sons of King John, and generally tried to play the role of a peacemaker between the factions of his nephews Orléans and John the Fearless. After the murder of Orléans at the orders of the Duke of Burgundy, Berry generally took the Orléanist or Armagnac side in the civil war that erupted, but was always a moderate figure, attempting to reconcile the two sides and promote internal peace. It was largely due to his urging that Charles VI and his sons were not present at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Remembering his father's fate as a captive after the Battle of Poitiers 59 years before, Berry feared the fate of France should the king and his heirs be taken captive and successfully prevented their participation. He died a few months after the battle, which proved as disastrous as he had feared, on June 15 1416 in Paris.
Family and Children
John of Berry had the following issue by his first wife, Joanna of Armagnac (1346–1387), whom he married in 1360:
- Charles of Berry, Count of Montpensier (1362–1382)
- John de Valois, Count of Montpensier, (1363–1402), married firstly Catherine of France, daughter of Charles V, King of France and secondly Anne de Bourbon-La Marche
- Louis of Berry (1364–1383)
- Bonne of Berry (1365–1435), who succeeded him as Viscountess of Carlat and married first Amadeus VII, Count of Savoy, and then Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac
- Marie of Berry, who succeeded him as Duchess of Auvergne and married first Louis III of Châtillon, then Philip of Artois, Count of Eu and finally John I, Duke of Bourbon
Illegitimate son by a Scottish woman:
- Owuoald (1370-before 1382), born in England during John's captivity.
In 1389 he married his second wife, Joan II, Countess of Auvergne (c.1378-1424).
John of Berry was also a notable patron who commissioned among other works the most famous Book of Hours, the Très Riches Heures. "Like other works produced on the duke’s auspices, this model of elegance reflected many of the artistic tendencies of the time in its fusion of Flemish realism, of the refined Parisian style, and of Italian panel-painting techniques." His spending on his art collection severely taxed his estates, and he was deeply in debt when he died in 1416 at Paris.
Works created for him include the manuscripts known as the Très Riches Heures, the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry and (parts of) the Turin-Milan Hours. Goldsmith's work includes the Holy Thorn Reliquary and Royal Gold Cup, both in the British Museum. Among the artists working for him were the Limbourg Brothers, Jacquemart de Hesdin and André Beauneveu.
The web site of the Louvre says of him:
|“||By his exacting taste, by his tireless search for artists, from Jacquemart de Hesdin to the Limbourg brothers, Jean de Berry made a decisive contribution to the renewal of art which took place in his time and to a number of religious houses, notably Notre Dame de Paris.||”|
|Ancestors of John, Duke of Berry|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John, Duke of Berry.|
- Emmerson 2013, p. 381.
- Emmerson 2013, p. 382.
- Ars subtilior and the Patronage of French Princes, Yolanda Plumley, Early Music History: Volume 22: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Music, ed. Iain Fenlon, (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 145-146.
- Joni M. Hand, Women, Manuscripts and Identity in Northern Europe, 1350-1550, (Ashgate, 2013), 25.
- John, Duke of Berry, Richard C. Famiglietti, Medieval France: An Encyclopedia, ed. William W. Kibler, (Routledge, 1995), 498.
- Emmerson 2013, pp. 381-382.
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Strayer, J. R. (1982). Dictionary of the middle ages. New York: Scribner.
- Dossier thématique : La France en 1400 : Jean de Berry at museedulouvre.fr (accessed 20 February 2008)
- Emmerson, Richard K. (2013). Key Figures in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 978-1136775185.
- Stein, Wendy A. "Patronage of Jean de Berry (1340–1416)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (May 2009)
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Berry, John". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
John, Duke of Berry
Cadet branch of the House of ValoisBorn: 3 November 1340 Died: 15 June 1416
Title last held byJohn II
|Count of Poitou
Merged into royal domain
Title next held byJohn IV and II
|New title||Duke of Berry|
|Duke of Auvergne
| Succeeded by|
|Count of Montpensier|
John II and III
|Count of Auvergne and Boulogne
with Joanna II
| Succeeded by|
as sole countess
Title last held byCharles
|Count of Angoulême
c. 1372 – 1374
Title next held byLouis I
Title last held byLouis II
|Count of Étampes
Merged into royal domain
Title next held byRichard