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Aliénor de Poitiers

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Title: Aliénor de Poitiers  
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Subject: Etiquette writers, Etiquette
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Aliénor de Poitiers

Aliénor de Poitiers, flourished late 15th century, Poitiers, France, was the daughter of the countess of Poitiers. It is known she was also the widowed Viscountess of Veurne.[1]

Aliénor de Poitiers is noted as the author of Les honneurs de la cour (Honors of the Court), a book of court etiquette written between 1484 and 1491.[1] The book gives the structures and rules of court ritual and the etiquette appropriate to different social classes and situations.[2] She was particularly interested in the conventions observed when ladies of various ranks were lying in the birthing chamber.[3]

Her mother was Isabel de Sousa who had been lady-in-waiting to Isabella of Portugal, Duchess of Burgundy.[4] Alienor had resided with her mother at the Burgundian court. In addition to her own observations, she gives those of her mother, and those of another noble lady, Jeanne d'Harcourt, married in 1391 to the Count William de Namur.[2] She had been considered the best authority on court etiquette in the kingdom of France. The resulting collection of the customs of the court forms a kind of family diary embracing three generations, and extending back over more than a century.

The book should not be confused with the similarly titled Honneurs de la Cour, a peerage-book established in France in the 18th century to decide a noble's rank.[5]


  • L. Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues: The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Schools, London, 1998 p. 187.
  • Manners, Customs, and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period by Paul LaCroix. ArcaMax Publishing Section 41. Accessed August 2007.
  1. ^ a b Hall, James (2008). The sinister side : how left-right symbolism shaped Western art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 215.  
  2. ^ a b Jacob, P. L (1874). Manners, customs, and dress during the middle ages and during the renaissance period. London: Chapman and Hall. p. 497. 
  3. ^ Morewedge, edited by Rosmarie Thee (1975). The Role of woman in the Middle Ages : papers of the sixth annual conference of the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 6-7 May 1972. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 108.  
  4. ^ Morrison, ed. by Elizabeth; Scott, Thomas Kren; with an additional essay by Margaret (2006). Flemish manuscript painting in context : recent research ; based on symposia held at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (September 5-6, 2003), and at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (February 21, 2004) ; [in conjunction with the Exhibition Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe, held at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, from June 17 to September 7, 2003, and at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, from November 25, 2003 to February 22, 2004]. Los Angeles, Calif.: J. Paul Getty Museum. p. 51.  
  5. ^ Honneurs de la Cour
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