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Detailed record for Harley 1766

Author Giovanni Boccaccio, translation by John Lydgate based on a translation by Laurent de Premierfait
Title The Fall of Princes , abridged
Origin England, S. E. (probably Suffolk, possibly Bury St Edmunds)
Date c. 1450 - c. 1460
Language English
Script Gothic cursive
Scribe Edmund-Fremund scribe
Decoration 1 large miniature with a decorated foliate initial and a three-sided foliate border, in colours and gold (f. 5). 156 marginal miniatures, in colours and gold (ff. 11, 13, 18, 24, 28, 30, 31, 31v, 33, 34v, 35v, 36v, 37, 38, 39, 40v, 43, 43v, 44v, 45, 46v, 48, 49v, 50, 50v, 53, 54v, 63, 63v, 64v, 65, 67v, 68, 69, 70, 70v, 74v, 75, 75v, 76, 76v, 83, 83v, 84, 87v, 88, 88v, 89v, 90v, 91v, 92v, 93, 93v, 94, 94v, 95, 97v, 100v, 101v, 105, 107, 108, 109, 111, 112v, 114v, 116, 117, 121v, 123v, 124v, 126, 128, 129, 132, 132v, 133, 135, 135v, 141v, 143v, 146, 148v, 150v, 153v, 156v, 157v, 158, 159v, 171, 171v, 175, 180, 180v, 187v, 195v, 196, 196v, 198, 199, 200, 201, 201v, 203, 204v, 205, 206, 206v, 208v, 209, 217, 218, 219, 220v, 221v, 222, 223, 224, 229v, 230v, 233, 233v, 235, 239, 239v, 241, 243, 247v, 248v, 252, 252v, 255, 255v, 258, 259v). Smaller 'champ' initials with foliate feathering extending into the margins. Small initials in blue with red pen-flourishing.
Dimensions in mm 300 x 210 (220 x 125)
Official foliation ff. 1*-2* + 266 (ff. 1*-2* and 266 are medieval parchment flyleaves; + 4 paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end)
Collation Mainly in quires of 8.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance Numerous medieval and post-medieval added inscriptions in Greek, English and Latin (ff. 1*v, 2*v, 265v, 266).
John Bentley: inscribed in 1587 'John Bentley aetatis sue xxxiiii, fe. viii 1587 Anno eliza xxx' (f. 4v).
Thomas Cotton, 16th century: inscribed with his name (f. 2*v).
Pendleton, 16th century: inscribed 'Pendleton' (very faint) and ' dwelinge in Mackewerthe' (?Mackenworth, Derby) (f. 2*v).
John Walker or Wallter, 16th century: inscribed 'John Wallker (?Wallter) dwell lyng in Wyllysem halff a mylle from Netylstede' (=Willisham, near Nettlestead, Suffolk) (f. 2*v).
John Moresheed, 16th century (rather than 17th century as dated in Wright 1972): inscribed with his name (f. 266).
John Tyrell (Tirell), Thomas Tyrell, 16th century: inscribed with his name (f. 2*v), 'requeryng on[?y] cryature that dothe fynd or see the same to restore the sayd boke to the owner afore specyfyd for hyt is a heire lome. Tout pour le mieulx qd the seyd [name erased]', with 'Tyrell' written beside the erasure in pencil in a later hand, and inscription in Greek mentioning Thomas Tyrell (f. 265v).
Jon Lily, 16th century: inscribed with this name (f. 265v).
Elizabeth Darcy, 16th-17th century: inscribed with her name, partly in Greek letters (f. 266).
Thomas Waters, ?17th century: inscribed 'legi per legi Tho: Waters' (f. 265v).
Sarah Doughby (?Doughby), 17th century: inscribed several times with her name (f. 265v).
Christopher Chapman: inscribed 1654 'Christofer Chapman his booke 1654' (f. 1) and 'Christopher Chapman' (f. 265v), also inscribed 'Thomas Chapman his booke' and '?Georges Capman' [sic] (f. 265v).
Robert Halton: inscribed with his name in 1654 (ff. 1 and 1v).
?Sir Frescheville Holles (b. 1642, d. 1672), naval officer and antiquary: inscribed, 'Freschwill Holles 1654 in the year of our lord god' and, in a different hand, 'Frechwill Holles is the trew ounner of this booke amen so be it' (f. 265v), added marginal drawing in brown ink of a coat of arms, ermine, two piles gules, or sable, which would be Holles, 17th century (f. 145) (see Reynolds 1988).
?John Holles, duke of Newcastle upon Tyne from 1694 (b. 1662, d. 1711), landowner and politician, owner of a library at Welbeck Abbey: may have this manuscript from Frescheville, who died with no descendant in 1672 (see Reynolds 1988).
?Henrietta Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755), daughter of John, married in 1713 Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts: inherited her father's library which was integrated with the Harleian library in 1718 (see Reynolds 1988).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley. Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d.1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes The introductory miniature (f. 5) is on the same model as those found in copies of the Lives of St Edmund and St Fremund produced by the same scribe and group of illuminators (see Scott 1982).
Lydgate may not have known Boccaccio's text at first hand but only through the French translation by Laurent de Premierfait (see Bergen 1924-27, pp. ix-x).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), pp. 208-09 (no. 1766).

Henry Noble McCracken, The Lydgate Canon. Appendix to the Philological Society's Transactions 1907-1909 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & co. for the Philological Society, 1908), pp. iii-xlvi (p. xiv).

Lydgate's Fall of Princes, ed. by Henry Bergen, 4 vols, Early English Text Society, 121-124 (London: Early English Text Society, 1924-27), I, p. xxiii; IV, pp. 30-51, [as H2].

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 70, 101, 113, 124, 177, 193, 224, 243, 273, 334, 340.

Anthony S. G. Edwards, 'The McGill Fragment of Lydgate's Fall of Princes", Scriptorium: Revue internationale des études relatives aux manuscrits (1974), 75-77 (p. 76) (with additional bibliography).

Giovanni Boccaccio: Catalogue of an Exhibition held in the Reference Division of the British Library 3 October to 31 December 1975 (London: British Museum Publications, 1975), no. 39 [exhibition catalogue].

Kathleen L. Scott, 'Lydgate's Lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund: a Newly-Located Manuscript in Arundel Castle', Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 13 (1982), 335-66 (pp. 336, 342, 343 n. 32, 345, 346, 355, etc., fig. 4).

Kathleen L. Scott, ‘Design, Decoration and Illustration’, in Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375-1475 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 31-64 (p. 58 n. 40, p. 60 ns 55, 59, p. 61 n. 60).

Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 6, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), no. 110, pp. 257, 321.

Catherine Reynolds, 'Illustrated Boccaccio Manuscripts in the British Library (London)', Studi sul Boccaccio 17 (1988), 113-81 (pp.141-51).

Catherine Reynolds,Boccaccio visualizzato: Narrare per parole e per immagini fra Medioevo e Rinascimento, ed. by Vittore Branca, Biblioteca di Storia dell'arte, 30, 3 vols (Torino: Giulio Einaudi, 1999), III: Opere d'arte d'origine francese, fiamminga, inglese, spagnola, tedesca, pp. 271-76, no. 107

The Life of St Edmund, King & Martyr : John Lydgate’s Illustrated Verse Life Presented to Henry VI : a facsimile of British Library MS Harley 2278, introduction by A. S. G. Edwards (London: British Library, 2004), p. 11.

Julia Boffey an Anthony S.G. Edwards,A new Index of Middle Age Verse (London: British Libray, 2005) no. 1168.

Nigel Mortimer, John Lydgate's Fall of Princess. Narrative Tragedy in its Literary and Political Contexts (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Janet Cowen, 'The Name of Elizabeth Darcy in British Library MS Halrey 1766 and British Library Additional 10304, Notes and Queries , 58 (2011), 216-17.

Alexandra Gillespie and Daniel Wakelin, The production of Books in England (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 107,127,194.

Sarh L. Pittway, 'The Political Appropriation of Lydgate's Fall of Princes: A Manuscript Study of British Library, MS Harley 1766' (unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Birmingham, 2011) [passim].

Karen L. Fresco, Charles D. Wright, Translating the Middle Ages (Fahrnam: Ashagate, 2012).


Images
* * *
 
Two monks kneeling before Edmund

f. 5
Two monks kneeling before Edmund
Beginning of Lydgate's dedication to Humfrey of Gloucester; decorated border.

f. 5
Beginning of Lydgate's dedication to Humfrey of Gloucester; decorated border.
Temptation

f. 11
Temptation
 
Temptation

f. 11
Temptation
Expulsion from Paradise

f. 13
Expulsion from Paradise
Miniature

f. 13
Miniature
 
Pharaoh

f. 24
Pharaoh
Miniatures

f. 28
Miniatures
Jason

f. 31
Jason
 
Jason

f. 31
Jason
Oetes

f. 31v
Oetes
Medea

f. 33
Medea
 
Detail

f. 38
Detail
Hippolytus and Phaedra

f. 39
Hippolytus and Phaedra
Detail

f. 43
Detail
 
Detail

f. 43v
Detail
Detail

f. 44v
Detail
Detail

f. 45
Detail
 
Oedipus

f. 46v
Oedipus
Oedipus

f. 46v
Oedipus
Detail

f. 48
Detail
 
Detail

f. 49v
Detail
Detail

f. 50
Detail
Detail

f. 50v
Detail
 
Detail

f. 63v
Detail
Althaea and Hercules

f. 65
Althaea and Hercules
Althaea

f. 65
Althaea
 
Hercules

f. 65
Hercules
Hercules

f. 69
Hercules
Hercules

f. 69
Hercules
 
Hercules

f. 69
Hercules
Detail

f. 70
Detail
Detail

f. 74v
Detail
 
Detail

f. 76
Detail
Miniature

f. 76
Miniature
Detail

f. 76v
Detail
 
Orpheus

f. 76v
Orpheus
Samson

f. 83
Samson
Miniatures

f. 84
Miniatures
 
Detail

f. 90v
Detail
Text page

f. 91
Text page
Detail

f. 93
Detail
 
Tarquinius

f. 101v
Tarquinius
Lucretia

f. 105
Lucretia
Detail

f. 105
Detail
 
Jadan and Jereboam (Kings I,  chapter 13)

f. 107
Jadan and Jereboam (Kings I, chapter 13)
Joash being crowned

f. 111
Joash being crowned
Joash being crowned

f. 111
Joash being crowned
 
Detail

f. 112v
Detail
Suicide of Dido

f. 114v
Suicide of Dido
Suicide of Dido

f. 114v
Suicide of Dido
 
Sardanapalus

f. 116
Sardanapalus
Sardanapalus

f. 116
Sardanapalus
Detail of a miniature of Sardanapalus running from the ...

f. 117
Detail of a miniature of Sardanapalus running from the ...
 
Cyrus and Astyages in battle

f. 128
Cyrus and Astyages in battle
Cyrus and Asyages in battle

f. 128
Cyrus and Asyages in battle
Croesus being seized by a knight

f. 132v
Croesus being seized by a knight
 
Croesus being seized by a knight

f. 132v
Croesus being seized by a knight
Cresus

f. 133
Cresus
Cresus

f. 133
Cresus
 
King Cyrus

f. 135
King Cyrus
King Cyrus

f. 135
King Cyrus
Haman

f. 141v
Haman
 
Haman

f. 141v
Haman
Lycurgus

f. 146
Lycurgus
Lycurgus

f. 146
Lycurgus
 
Marcus Regulus

f. 157v
Marcus Regulus
Marcus Regulus

f. 157v
Marcus Regulus
Marcus Regulus

f. 158
Marcus Regulus
 
Marcus Regulus

f. 158
Marcus Regulus
Death of Marcus Regulus

f. 159v
Death of Marcus Regulus
Death of Marcus Regulus

f. 159v
Death of Marcus Regulus
 
Nero

f. 171
Nero
Nero

f. 171
Nero
Nero's escape

f. 171v
Nero's escape
 
Nero's escape

f. 171v
Nero's escape
Decius and Magnentius

f. 195v
Decius and Magnentius
Decius and Magnentius

f. 195v
Decius and Magnentius
 
Constantine

f. 196
Constantine
Constantine

f. 196
Constantine
Constantine

f. 198
Constantine
 
Constantine

f. 198
Constantine
Julian the Apostate

f. 200
Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate

f. 201v
Julian the Apostate
 
Maximus and Arbogastes

f. 204v
Maximus and Arbogastes
Maximus and Arbogastes

f. 204v
Maximus and Arbogastes
Theodosius

f. 205
Theodosius
 
King Arthur

f. 217
King Arthur
King

f. 218
King
Heathen kings being slain by Arthur

f. 218
Heathen kings being slain by Arthur
 
Heathen kings being slain by Arthur

f. 218
Heathen kings being slain by Arthur
Heathen kings being slain by Arthur

f. 218
Heathen kings being slain by Arthur
Tomb of Arthur

f. 219
Tomb of Arthur
 
Alboinus

ff. 221v-222
Alboinus
Andronicus

f. 239v
Andronicus
Andronicus

f. 239v
Andronicus
 
Miniature

f. 247v
Miniature
Hanging Men

f. 255
Hanging Men
Edward and his soldiers

f. 259v
Edward and his soldiers
 
Edward and his soldiers

f. 259v
Edward and his soldiers
Detail

f. 259v
Detail

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