The text of this article is also available in Russian.
Images reproduced with the kind permission of the National Library of Russia.
The execution of Mary Stuart on 8 February 1587 by the order Queen Elizabeth I shocked Europe and gave rise to a legend around the image of the Queen of Scots. Since then her tragic story has for many centuries been a subject of study for historians and a matter of inspiration for writers, artists, and composers. In Russia this interest can be seen in the acquisitions of several collectors. Their items today form an extensive body of manuscripts and other documents connected with the name of Mary Stuart in the stocks of the National Library of Russia. The best known manuscript in this corpus is Mary Stuart’s Book of Hours, other materials include a portion of her correspondence for the years 1559–1570, a number of official documents (petitions, instructions, notes), diplomatic reports, and literary and historical works dedicated to the Queen of Scots and dating to the seventeenth century. All these materials are testimonies to the difficult and fascinating period of English and Scottish history, which preceded the Union of the Crowns under the son of Mary, James Stuart, at his accession to the throne of England in 1603.
История Марии Стюарт в рукописях и документах из собрания Российской национальной библиотеки
Н.А. Елагина, Российская национальная библиотека
Казнь Марии Стюарт, состоявшаяся 8 февраля 1587 г. по воле Елизаветы Английской, потрясла Европу и овеяла легендой образ шотландской королевы. С этих пор и до наших дней ее трагическая судьба неизменно привлекает к себе внимание историков, писателей, художников, композиторов. В России интерес к судьбе Марии Стюарт ярко проявился в собирательской деятельности русских коллекционеров. Именно им Российская национальная библиотека обязана значительным комплексом рукописей и документов, связанных с именем королевы Шотландии. Это знаменитый «Часовник», принадлежавший Марии Стюарт, небольшая часть ее переписки за 1559–1570 гг., ряд официальных докуменов (обращения, инструкции, записки), дипломатические донесения, а также посвященные ей литературные и исторические произведения XVII в. Все эти материалы отражают сложный и знаменательный период в истории Англии и Шотландии, который предшествовал объединению двух государств под властью сына Марии Якова Стюарта, вступившего на английский престол в 1603 г.
The collection of western manuscripts at the National Library of Russia (NLR), St Petersburg, has for a long time attracted scholars from different parts of the world. The traditional view holds it that the collection is French in scope, which is certainly fair, for the materials on the history of France clearly outnumber other documents. Moreover, it is this part of our stock that has been widely represented in publications, thus being better known and accessible to researchers. However, this collection possesses many interesting manuscripts and documents connected with other Western European countries. 
The documents on the history of England are relatively few, and, until recently, they were seldom studied by scholars, with a few exceptions which belong to real treasures of medieval writing: the so-called Leningrad Bede, the second oldest copy of the Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the Venerable Bede (c. 746)  after the Cambridge University Library copy, and the Insular Gospels (late 8th century),  to name just two of them. Comprehensive surveys of the NLR manuscripts on English history, as well as studies of specific parts of the collection still remain to be written. However, the first step in this direction was made in 2001, when Finnish and Russian scholars joined their efforts in organising the Ex insula lux exhibition and publishing its catalogue. 
The present paper gives a short survey of manuscripts from the NLR collection connected with the English history of the 16th century and Mary, Queen of Scots.
2. Mary Stuart’s Book of Hours
The story of Mary, Queen of Scots (Illustration 1), is closely connected with the history of England. As a great-granddaughter of Henry VII, she is bound to England by her origin. In England she was kept in prison for almost half of her life and executed by the order of her cousin Elizabeth of England. Yet with her death, Mary’s ties with England were not broken. In 1603 her son James Stuart succeeded to the English throne, establishing the personal union of the crowns of Scotland and England.
For many centuries the tragic story of Mary, Queen of Scots, has been a subject of study for historians and a matter of inspiration for writers, artists, and composers.  Her story has also attracted many scholars and collectors of historical documents. The collection of manuscript materials about Mary in the National Library of Russia (formerly the Imperial Public Library) consists of several acquisitions of 18th- and 19th-century Russian collectors, which later became part of the NLR stock.
The major part of the manuscripts and documents connected with Mary, Queen of Scots, was acquired by the Imperial Public Library as early as 1805 among other items of P. P. Dubrovsky’s collection.  The best known manuscript in this corpus is Mary Stuart’s Book of Hours. 
Books of hours are a special kind of prayer books, which were meant for the laity and used only for individual prayer. They often became family relics that were bequeathed to heirs.
The first books of hours appeared in the 13th century, and the demand for them in medieval society was ever growing. In the 15th century, books of hours were already produced in series by several European book workshops, including those in France, Italy, and the Netherlands. The contents of the books were as follows: calendar, sequences from the Gospels, hours of the Virgin, hours of the Cross and Holy Spirit. They also included seven penitential psalms, the litany of saints, and the office of the dead. Prayers to the saints who were worshipped in a particular region were placed in the end. Books of hours were usually illuminated. 
The so-called Mary Stuart’s Book of Hours was made in France (Paris?) in the 15th century. Today it is bound in a lilac velvet cover of late 18th–early 19th century with two graceful book clasps of gilded silver. The manuscript contains 229 parchment leaves, each being decorated with an ornamental floral frame in colours and gold. The book has 22 miniatures; the first three are pictures of the evangelists – Luke, Matthew, and Mark. The miniatures depict mostly traditional book-of-hours subjects, such as the Annunciation, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the Presentation at the Temple, and so on. Art historians unanimously say that the iconography of these miniatures is rather archaic and more characteristic of the 14th century. However, the brightness of colours, their rich scale, and the style of painting, reminiscent of the Bedford Master circle, suggest that the manuscript was produced in the 15th century. The anonymous artist, referred to as the Bedford Master after the name of his chief client John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, was the head of a workshop in Paris in 1420–30s and he had numerous imitators. Because of this, illuminated manuscripts in the Bedford style continued to be made even in the second half of the century.
Illustration 2. The Virgin and Child, a miniature from Mary Stuart’s Book of Hours. (The kneeling lady with a veil could have been the first owner of the hours.) P. P. Dubrovsky’s collection. NLR, Manuscript department, Lat. Q.v.I.112 (f. 145v).
The texts in Mary Stuart’s Book of Hours are also rather traditional. At the beginning we find a calendar and sequences from the Gospels of Luke, Matthew, and Mark, followed by the hours, penitential psalms, and so on. These conventional texts are followed by prayers to St Margaret and St Catherine, metrical and prose prayers of St Peter of Luxembourg, and some others. Alongside with the prayers of St Peter of Luxembourg, we find a miniature with his portrait. Both these prayers and ones at the end of the codex read at various occasions – such as waking-up, leaving the house, entering the church, etc. – are in French.
It is not known who the original owner of the hours was. One of its miniatures shows a black-veiled woman, who is kneeling before the Virgin Mary and Child Jesus (Illustration 2). This woman could be the owner of the book. The sovereign arms have been carefully removed, and no 15th-century markings are attested.
However, the hours contains numerous inscriptions in French in a 16th-century hand. One of them towards the beginning of the manuscript, at the bottom of ff. 12v–13 says, Ce livre est à moi. Marie Reyne. 1554 (‘this book is mine. Mary Queen. 1554’) (Illustration 3). A comparison between these inscriptions and Mary’s autograph letters make it clear that the former are in her own hand. The year 1554 is in fact the beginning of the period in the hours’ story that eventually gave it its present name. 
Illustration 3. Owner’s inscription of Mary Stuart in the margins of the Book of Hours. P.P. Dubrovsky’s collection. NLR, Manuscript department, Lat. Q.v.I.112 (f. 12v–13).
The only daughter of James V, King of Scots, and Mary of Guise was born on 8 December 1542, and several days later on 14 December, her father died. The Scottish parliament proclaimed Mary queen, appointing the Earl of Arran (and not the Queen Mother who was French) to act as regent and guardian for Mary. She was only five years old when she had to leave Scotland, as she had been promised to be married to the heir of the French crown. Brought up together with the children of Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici, Mary spent her best years at the French court, admired by many for her beauty, vivaciousness, and charm. It was about that time that Mary came into possession of the book of hours, which was perhaps given to her by her mother, a devout Catholic, or by one of her close relatives from the powerful Guise clan. On 12 April 1554 Mary of Guise became Regent of Scotland by her daughter’s consent. Therefore, it is not impossible to suppose that the present was connected with this event.
From this time onwards the story of the book was closely bound to the fate of its owner, who would soon have to experience the death of her husband, François II of France in 1560, the return to Scotland in 1561, a new marriage to Henry Darnley that ended with the murder of her second husband in 1567, the abdication, and flight from the rebellious Scottish lords to England in search of protection from Elizabeth I, by whose orders she would be condemned to nineteen years of imprisonment and death on the scaffold. For many years she was adding new entries to the pages of the hours: signatures (one of them is dated 1579), short notes, sorrowful elegiac poems. Qui jamais davantage eust contraire le sort, Si la vie m’est moins utile que la mort (‘to whom has the fate ever been more hostile, if my life is less useful for me than death’), Mary wrote in one of the quatrains (f. 81v) and later (f. 129v) she says, Je ne suis plus ce que je fus (‘I am not any longer the one that I was’). Every line written by her is filled with sincere emotion, recording spiritual suffering of the royal prisoner.
Several stories about Mary’s execution say that she went to the scaffold holding a cross and a prayer book, which must have given rise to the legend that to the very last moment the queen would not part with her book of hours, now preserved in St Petersburg. Other sources, however, do not mention this fact. No book is found in the series of engravings by Antonio Zecchin (1794) about the execution and burial of the Queen of Scots. On her way to the execution and on the scaffold, Mary is depicted holding only the cross in her hands (Illustration 8). 
Apart from Mary’s notes, the hours contains signatures of English dignitaries, such as the Earls of Sussex, Essex, Warwick, Nottingham, Lincoln, Lennox (the father of Henry Darnley), Countess Elizabeth of Shrewsbury, Lady Arabella Stuart, and others.  Some of the signatures were added to the book after Mary’s death. The hours must have been inherited by her son James Stuart who succeeded to the English throne as James I, and then by her grandson Charles I, sentenced to decapitation by the English court in 1649. In her study of Mary Stuart’s Book of Hours, T. P. Voronova wrote that after the execution, the fate of the king’s possessions, including his library, was decided by Parliament. While the protracted debate was taking place, a part of the royal collection disappeared. In late 18th century, some of these books were sold at auctions and privately. It could be then that Dubrovsky acquired the famous book of hours. 
3. Mariae Stuartae Scotorum Reginae carcer, et mors
The second manuscript in the Dubrovsky collection connected with the name of the Queen of Scots has been mostly unknown to scholars. It is a simple small book in-octavo with pink cardboard cover and back and corners of red leather going back to the 19th century. It consists of 22 paper leaves. The text is in the Italian cursive script, which was widely used in Western Europe in the 16–17th centuries. The book contains a poetic work in Latin titled Mariae Stuartae Scotorum Reginae carcer, et mors (‘The imprisonment and death of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots’) (Illustration 4). The name of the author is unknown. At the end of the book, there is a reference to Mariae de sanguinae germen Carolus (‘the seed of Mary’s blood Charles’). It follows that the poems cannot have been written before 19 November 1600 when Charles Stuart, the future Charles I of England was born. The manuscript can also be dated to the first half of the 17th century. 
4. Mary Stuart’s letters
A group of materials connected with Mary, Queen of Scots, makes part of the documental portion in the Dubrovsky collection.  Among some 15000 documents that Dubrovsky brought to St Petersburg, over 4000 are related to the history of Western Europe in the 16th century. Most of these documents come from France, and are official and personal letters of the French kings and members of their families, statesmen and military men, officials and ambassadors from several European countries. It is not so easy to detect the documents connected with Mary in this great mass of writings even when an inventory of all the documents and an index are available. The latter only records the names of addressers and addressees. Therefore, occasionally the documents had to be studied de visu.
Mary’s own letters and letters addressed to her are easily identifiable in the index. Her correspondence in the Dubrovsky collection consists of 22 documents: 19 letters signed by the Queen of France and Scotland, and three letters written to her by Sebastian, King of Portugal in 1560, Lord Hantly in 1569, and Lord Seton in 1570. 
Let us take a closer look at these letters. Three letters were written by Mary in France during the short period between 1559 and 1560 when she enjoyed the title of Queen of France. One of them, addressed to Lucrezia de’ Medici, Duchess of Ferrara, is dated October 1559. Two letters to Philip II of Spain have no dates. The contents of these two letters suggest that the first one was written in late 1559 – early 1560 (Illustration 5), and the second in 1560. The letters are mostly private in nature; however, one of them bears the evidence of the European princes’ great involvement in Scottish affairs. Writing to Philip II, Mary thanks him heartily for his help in the restoration of peace in Scotland and for signing the treaty with the English. 
The following two letters belong to the time of Mary’s sojourn in Scotland. On 16 October 1566 she wrote to Charles IX of France from Jedburgh, thanking him for his concern for the situation in Scotland and assuring him of her devotion. The second letter written, according to a note by a 17th-century archivist, in Lochleven on 1 May 1568, is addressed to Catherine de’ Medici, whom Mary is urging to send troops to Scotland to support and to liberate her from the imprisonment. The Queen of Scots had been imprisoned in Lochleven Castle in the summer of 1567; there the rebellious lords forced her to sign the act of abdication in favour of her son James Stuart. She managed to escape from prison on 2 May 1568, a day after the letter to the Queen Mother had been written and handed to a messenger, assuming that the date given by the archivist is correct. 
The other 14 letters were written in England between 27 May 1568 and 30 April 1570. Three of them are addressed to Charles IX, three to Catherine de’ Medici, three to Elizabeth I, and five more to the French ambassador in England Bertrand de Salignac Fénelon, Marquis de La Mothe. 
Two weeks after her escape from Lochleven, on 16 May 1568, fleeing from the Scottish nobles, Mary left Scotland and set her foot on the English shore. However, very soon she had to realise that here in England she was also a prisoner. The events of this honorary seclusion were reflected in her letters, which are now preserved in St Petersburg.
Striving to regain her freedom Mary asked Elizabeth I either to speed up the investigation of her case or to allow her to leave England. She openly declared her intention to turn for support to foreign kings if her plea were denied, she insisted on the right to keep correspondence with her faithful lords, and said that nothing would make her renounce her crown. At the same time Mary kept urging Charles IX and Catherine de’ Medici to support her in Scotland; however, referring to the turmoil in France, they could not promise her much. Mary’s most detailed letters about her condition as the prisoner of Elizabeth are addressed to de La Mothe Fénelon. She asked him to persuade the King of France to send troops to Scotland, for otherwise the country would be lost to both Mary and France.
Eleven out of nineteen letters in the Dubrovsky collection are original. These are letters to the Duchess of Ferrara, Philip II, Charles IX, and Catherine de’ Medici. Seven of them are autographs, and four are only signed by Mary. The letters to Elizabeth I and to de La Mothe Fénelon are 16th-century copies.
5. Other documents
A number of official documents of 1568–1573 from the same collection deal with Mary. Most of them are addressed to Charles IX and Catherine de’ Medici, including the petition of the Scottish noblemen, asking them to support the liberation of Mary (dated 1568). Other documents contain accounts of Philip II of Spain, also concerning her liberation (1569), accounts of the French ambassador to England de La Mothe Fénelon that were compiled by him to carry on negotiations about Mary’s fate (1569–1573). Three documents to the same end (of 1568 and 1571) were composed by Elizabeth and one is addressed to her (1568). In December 1568, following the presentation of John Leslie, bishop of Ross, Lord Boyd, Lord Herries, and others, Elizabeth informs them about her consent to hold a trial for the murder of Henry Darnley and to acquit Mary of this charge. In 1571 upon personal instructions from Elizabeth, Lord Cecil, the Secretary of State, approached Mary on behalf of the Queen with a proposal to consent to marriage with Henry Carey. At this stage, we have identified 15 letters of this kind. 
Many papers mention Mary in passing, commenting on her health, mood, occupations, and guests. Such notes are found in reports of the French ambassadors and residents in England and Scotland addressed to Charles IX and Catherine de’ Medici, as well as in letters from the king and queen. The analysis of diplomatic correspondence yielded 110 documents of this kind dated between 1568 and 1573. It is possible that there are references to Mary in letters from the same period written by French envoys to the brother of the King of France, Duke of Anjou, or to the Secretary of State, baron de Sauve; therefore the above number of documents cannot be final. 
Among ten letters written by Elizabeth to the French court between 1567 and 1569, only one (dated 16 October 1567) mentions “the unfortunate Queen of Scots”.  In her later letters, Elizabeth repeatedly refers to some important evidence that should be reported orally by the English ambassador at the French court. Did this information have any connection to Mary, or rather to some other international affairs? It will only be possible to ascertain this and make any suggestions after more documents from this period have been studied and compared to the letters from Elizabeth in a wider context.
The Dubrovsky collection has many letters from people who were related to Mary or involved in her affairs. Yet a study – however brief and selective – of the correspondence of Catherine de’ Medici, Charles IX, and Henry of Anjou (who was to become Henry III in 1574), and that of Mary’s uncles Cardinal of Lorraine and Duke of Guise turned out to be ineffectual.
To sum up, the documental part of the Dubrovsky collection consists of some 150 papers connected with Mary Stuart, Queen of France and Scotland. Their chronological range is between 1559 and 1573. All discovered materials are in French. They are original documents, drafts, and 16th-century copies with archive notes of the same period and occasional archive annotations from the 17th century.
6. Mary Stuart and Prince Alexander Y. Lobanov-Rostovsky
Many of the documents from the diplomatic correspondence of de La Mothe Fénelon , including those connected with Mary, were published in the 19th century by Alexandre Teulet.  About the same time, there appeared an edition of Mary’s letters that were preserved in Russia. They were part of the seven-volume publication by Prince Alexander Y. Lobanov-Rostovsky (Illustration 6). The edition was printed in London in 1844 with a dedication to Queen Victoria. 
Illustration 6. Prince Alexander Yakovlevich Lobanov-Rostovsky, 1788–1866. Reproduction of a portrait by an anonymous artist. NLR, Print department.
According to Hovyn de Tranchère, a French historian, Prince Lobanov was the most consistent among those, who after Mary’s death “cherished the memory of the queen as if it were a cult”.  Lieutenant General, writer and collector A.Y. Lobanov-Rostovsky (1788–1866) travelled to many European countries, searching for Mary’s letters in libraries, archives, and private collections. He acquired a collection of her portraits, a number of manuscripts, and rare printed books connected with her name.  After his death, the manuscripts from this collection were scattered. It was only in the first half of the 20th century that the National Library of Russia acquired two of them.
The first one entered the NLR stock in 1919 as part of P. L. Vaksel’s collection of autographs. This letter is in Mary’s own hand and was written to Duke Henry of Guise before her execution. Beloved cousin, no one is dearer to me in the whole world, she writes, to you I send my last good-bye, for by the decision of unfair trial, I am being prepared to death…  The letter, which Lobanov dates 24 November 1586, is a spiritual testament of the queen. Attached to it, there is a certificate verifying the authenticity of the autograph, signed by Alexandre Teulet, a French archivist and paleographer. In Lobanov-Rostovsky’s edition, the text of this letter was reproduced from a copy preserved in the British Library. 
In 1929 the NLR French manuscript collection acquired an 18th-century book containing Histoire de Marie Stuart, Reyne d’Ecosse (‘The story of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots’) (Illustration 7). The fly-leaf of the book has a note in Lobanov’s hand: L’ouvrage a été écrit sous le règne de Charles Ier, Roi d’Angleterre qui a régné depuis (‘this work was composed during the reign of Charles I, King of England’). The author of this historical work has still to be identified. 
No new materials about Mary have entered the NLR western collection of manuscripts since that time. However, it is possible that its vast stock of books can yield more documents that would shed light on the story of the Queen of Scots, a remarkable woman, whose charm continued to fascinate people centuries after her tragic end.
Illustration 7. Histoire de Marie Stuart, Reyne d’Écosse, 18th century. A.Y. Lobanov-Rostovsky’s collection. NLR, Manuscript department, Fr. Q.IV.214 (f. 1).
 For the history of the western collection in the manuscript department of the National Library of Russia, see The National Library of Russia: 1795–1995. St Petersburg, 1995, pp. 70-75, 130-133; and Zhemchuzhina v korone: Otdel rukopisey Rossiyskoy natsionalnoy biblioteki, 1805–2005. St Petersburg, 2005, pp. 36-45.
 NLR, Manuscript Department, Aut. 69. “Recueil de lettres originales des Rois, Reines, Princes et Princesses de Portugal”, Nº 13; Aut. 90. “Dépêches originales de La Mothe Fénelon, Ambassadeur de France à Londres”. T. 1, Nº 39; t. 2, Nº 4.
 NLR, Manuscript Department, Aut. 34. “Pièces et lettres originales des Rois, Reines et Enfants de France”. T. 2, Nº 29-31.
 NLR, Manuscript Department, Aut. 12. “Recueil de lettres originales des Rois, Reines. Princes et Princesses d’Angleterre et d’Ecosse”, Nº 28, 31.
Backhouse, Janet. 2004. Illumination from Books of Hours. London: British Library.
Cassagnes-Brouquet, Sophie. 2008. La passion du livre au Moyen Âge. Rennes: Ouest-France.
Elagina, Natalia A. 2005. Zhemchuzhina v korone [A Pearl of the Crown]: Otdel rukopisey Rossiyskoy natsionalnoy biblioteki, 1805–2005. St Petersburg: National Library of Russia.
Hovyn de Tranchère, Jules. 1886. Les dessous de l’histoire: curiosités judiciaires, administratives, politiques et littéraires. Vols. 1-2. Paris & Bordeaux: Ernest Leroux & Féret et Fils.
Kilpiö, Matti & Leena Kahlas-Tarkka, eds. 2001. Ex insula lux. Manuscripts and Hagiographical Materials Connected with Medieval England. Helsinki: Helsinki University Library.
Laborde, Alexandre de. 1936-1938. Les principaux manuscrits à peintures conservés dans l’ancienne Bibliothèque Impériale publique de Saint-Pétersbourg. Parts 1-2. Paris: Publications de la Société Française de Reproductions de Manuscrits a Peintures.
Leroquais, Victor. 1927. Les livres d’heures manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale. Vol. 1. Paris: Macon, Protat frères, imp.
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Lobanov-Rostovsky, Alexandre, ed. 1856. Notice sur la collection des portraits de Marie Stuart appartenant au prince Alexandre Labanoff. St.-Pétersbourg: Impr. d’É. Pratz.
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Teulet, Alexandre, ed. 1840. Correspondance diplomatique de Bertrand de Salignac de La Mothe, ambassadeur de France en Angleterre de 1568 à 1575. Vols. 1-7. Paris & London: Imp. par Béthune et Plon.
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Voronova Tamara & A. Sterligov. 1996. Western European Illuminated Manuscripts of the 8th to the 16th Centuries in the National Library of Russia, St Petersburg. Bournemouth: Parkstone Press/Aurora Art Publishers.
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