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Detailed record for Harley 1802

Title Gospels of Maelbrigte (the 'Armagh Gospels'; 'Marelbrid Gospels'), with glosses
Origin Ireland, N. (Armagh)
Date 1138
Language Latin, with some Irish
Script Irish minuscule
Scribe Maelbrigte hua Maeluánaig
Decoration 2 full-page miniatures of Evangelist symbols in ink with washes of green, brown, red, and yellow (ff. 60v, 86v). 4 very large zoomorphic initials in ink with washes of colour in green, red, brown, and yellow at the beginning of the Gospels (ff. 20, 61, 87, 128). Large zoomorphic initials with interlace decoration in ink with washes of colour, in combinations of red, yellow, brown, or green. Highlighting of letters in red, green, brown, or yellow.
Dimensions in mm 165 x 120 (120 x 70)
Official foliation ff. 156 ( + 1 unfoliated parchment and 2 paper flyleaves at the beginning and 1 parchment flyleaf at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Red leather with gold tooling.
Provenance Colophons in Irish at the end of each Gospel that provide the scribe's name: Maelbrigte hua Maeluánaig (Mael Brigte Ua Mael Uanaig); his age: 28; the fact that he was writing in Armagh; and the date of completion: 1138, e.g., 'Or(ait) do Maelbrigte q(u)i scr(i)bsit h(unc) l(ibrum) in xx viii anno aetatis suae . . .' (Pray for Maelbrigte, who wrote this book in his 28th year . . .) (f. 127v); 'Or(ait) do Maelbrigte q(u)i scribsit h(un)c libru(m) . . .' (Pray for Maelbrigte, who wrote this book. Great is the deed the Cormac mac Carthaig should have been slain by Tairdelbah O Briain (f. 60).
Added 13th-century glosses and notes.
Bibliotheque du Roi, Paris, by the beginning of the 18th-century: described as part of the library by Pere Richard Simon in his Bibliotheque critique published in 1708 (see Alexander 1978; Henry and Marsh-Micheli 1962 p. 149); from which it, together with other manuscripts, was stolen in 1707 by Aymon.
Jean Aymon (b. 1661, d. 1720), priest and writer: taken to Holland where it was examined by John Toland, who advised Robert Harley to purchase it (see Henry and Marsh-Micheli 1962 p. 149).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) 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 According to Glunz, with marginal and interlinear glosses that were read in the cathedral school in Paris in the fourth decade of the 12th century.
Henry and Marsh-Micheli's Group IVA: 'Middle and Late Twelfth-Century Manuscripts from the North-East of Ireland and Galloway, with initials of Henry's 'knotted wire' type.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I, no. 1802.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Illustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 5.

Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, 4th edn, ed. by Edward Miller, 2 vols (London: George Bell & Sons, 1894), II, 77.

Facsimiles of Biblical Manuscripts in the British Museum, ed. by Frederic G. Kenyon (London: British Museum, 1900), no. XVIII.

J. A. Herbert, Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Methuen, 1911), p. 82.

Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum, II (London, 1926), pp. 428-32.

H. H. Glunz, History of the Vulgate in England from Alcuin to Roger Bacon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1933), no. 23 [wrongly identified as Harley 1803].

Theodor Klauser, Das ro¨mische capitulare evangeliorum: Texte und Untersuchungen zu seiner a¨ltesten Geschichte, Liturgiegeschichtliche Quellen und Forschungen. 28 (Munster: Aschendorffschen, 1935), p. XXXVI no. 6.

Françoise Henry and G. I. Marsh-Micheli, 'A Century of Irish Illumination (1070-1170)', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 62 (1962), pp. 101-164 (pp. 102-3, 111, esp. 148-52, pls XXVI-XXVII).

Françoise Henry, Irish Art in the Romanesque Period-1020-1170 A.D. (London: Methuen, 1970), pp. 47-8, 64.

J. J. G. Alexander, Insular Manuscripts: 6th to the 9th Century, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 1 (London: Harvey Miller, 1978), no. 77 [with additional bibliography].

Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700-1600 in The Department of Manuscripts: The British Library, 2 vols (London: British Library, 1979), no. 644.

Bonifatius Fischer, Die Lateinischen Evangelien bis zum 10. Jahrhundert, 4 vols (Freiburg: Herder, 1988-1991), I: Varianten zu Matthäus, Vetus Latina die Reste der Altlateinischen Bible: Aus der Geschichte der Lateinischen Bibel, 13, p. 17*.

C. R. Dodwell, The Pictorial Arts of theWest 800-1200 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), pp. 92-3, 414.

Jennifer O'Reilly, 'The Hiberno-Latin Tradition of the Evangelists and the Gospels of Mael Brigte', Peritia, 9 (1995), 290-310.

Michelle P. Brown, Painted Labyrinth: The world of the Lindisfarne Gospels (London: British Library, 2003), p. 46.


Images
* * *
 
Decorated initial

f. 1
Decorated initial
Decorated initial

f. 3
Decorated initial
Decorated initial

f. 3v
Decorated initial
 
Decorated initial

f. 4v
Decorated initial
Decorated initials

f. 5v
Decorated initials
Interlace initial

f. 6
Interlace initial
 
Interlace initial

f. 6v
Interlace initial
Interlace initial

f. 7v
Interlace initial
Coloured initial

f. 9
Coloured initial
 
Coloured initials

f. 9v
Coloured initials
Interlace initial

f. 10
Interlace initial
Decorated initial

f. 19
Decorated initial
 
Coloured initials

f. 20
Coloured initials
Colophon

f. 60
Colophon
Lion

f. 60v
Lion
 
Decorated initial

f. 61
Decorated initial
Calf

f. 86v
Calf
Interlace initial

f. 87
Interlace initial
 
Decorated initial

f. 88
Decorated initial
Coloured initials

ff. 90v-91
Coloured initials
Coloured initials

f. 92
Coloured initials
 
Zoomorphic initial

f. 125v
Zoomorphic initial
Colophon

f. 127v
Colophon
Decorated initials

f. 128
Decorated initials
 
Colophon

f. 156v
Colophon

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