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Detailed record for Harley 1861

Author Solomon ben Isaac (Rashi)
Title Pentateuch with Targum and Rashi's commentary (ff. 1-219); Five Scrolls (Hamesh megillot; ff. 220-244v); Haftarot (ff. 245-288). Job with Rashi's commentary (ff. 289-307); Megillat Antiochus (ff. 309-310v)
Origin France
Date 14th century
Language Hebrew, Aramaic
Script Ashkenazi square and semi-cursive script, partially punctuated
Scribe Abraham ben Isaac
Decoration 14 decorated initial words in brown ink and red (ff. 4v, 9v, 14v, 24, 31v, 54, 57v, 132v, 220, 223v, 231, 239, 271, 298). 1 full border, in colour (f. 132v). Decorated parashah sign (f. 123). 2 microrgaphic designs (ff. 177, 177v). 2 unfinished initial words (ff. 220, 289).
Dimensions in mm 265 x 210 (main text: 185/140 x 150/85, with commentary: 235/210 x 185/170)
Official foliation ff. iii + 311 (+ 2 modern unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning, and 2 older and 2 modern unfoliated paper flyleaves at the end); ff. 1-3 are older paper flyleaves
Collation 39 quires: i8 (ff. 4-11), ii8 (ff. 12-19), iii8 (ff. 20-27), iv8 (ff. 28-35), v8 (ff. 36-43), vi8 (ff. 44-51), vii8 (ff. 52-59), viii8 (ff. 60-67), ix8 (ff. 68-75), x8 (ff. 76-83), xi8 (ff. 84-91), xii8 (ff. 92-99), xiii8 (ff. 100-107), xiv8 (ff. 108-115), xv8 (ff. 116-123), xvi8 (ff. 124-131), xvii8 (ff. 132-139), xviii8 (ff. 140-147), xix 8 (ff. 148-155), xx8 (ff. 156-163), xxi8 (ff. 164-171), xxii6 (ff. 172-177), xxiii8 (ff. 178-185), xxiv8 (ff. 186-193), xxv8 (ff. 194-201), xxvi8 (ff. 202-209), xxvii10 (ff. 210-219), xxviii8 (ff. 220-227), xxix8 (ff. 228-235), xxx6 (ff. 236-241), xxxi8 (ff. 242-249), xxxii8 (ff. 250-257), xxxiii8 (ff. 258-265), xxxiv8 (ff. 266-273), xxxv8 (ff. 274-281), xxxvi6 (ff. 282-287), xxxvii10-1 (ff. 288-296), xxxviii8 (ff. 297-304), xxxix8-1 (ff. 305-311). No catchword.
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Black leather with the Harley arms in the centre.
Provenance Abraham ben Isaac, the scribe: inscribed with his name in two colophons: 'Grow stronger and let us grow stronger. May no harm befall on Abraham [ben ha-qadosh rabbi Isaac] the copyist not today and not ever until the donkey ascends the ladder to the heavens about which our father Jacob had dreamed' [English translation], 14th century (ff. 288, 307); the name Avram and Avraham is decorated several times, (e. g., ff. 14, 21, 141v, 186, 307).
Scribal formula: 'Grow stronger and let us grow stronger. May no harm befall on the copyist not today and not ever until the donkey ascends the ladder to the heavens about which our father Jacob had dreamed' [English translation], 14th century (f. 219).
Hayyim bar Jacob Raagi: inscribed with his name (ff. 307v, 311, 311v); acrostic of Jacob, 15th century (f. 230).
Meir bar Meir: inscribed with his name, 15th century (ff. 307v, 311v).
Samuel bar Meir: inscribed with his name, 15th century (f. 310v); acquisition note by the same hand (f. 311).
Meir Samuel: inscribed with his name, 15th century (f. 4).
Meir: inscription in Hebrew: 'I am Meir', 15th century (f. 308v).
Humfrey Wanley (b. 1672, d. 1726), Old English scholar and librarian: inscribed with his name: 'Liber Humfredi Wanley' (f. 1) (see Wright 1972).
Illegible Hebrew inscriptions (f. 4).
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 Watermarks on f. 2 [a hand], and on f. [312]. The first watermark is a hand, the second watermark is a vase with a crescent at the top and a monogramm [CO?], similar to Edward Heawood, Watermarks (Monumenta Chartae Papyraceae Historiam Illustrantia, I) (Hilversum: Paper Publication Society, 1950), no. 3603 (dated to 1646, England).
Select bibliography George Margoliouth, Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: British Museum, 1899-1935; vols I-III repr. 1965); IV, Introduction, Indexes, ed. by Jacob Leveen (London: British Museum, 1977), I, no. 169.

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. 246, 459.

Sarit Shalev-Eyni, 'Ashkenazi Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Isles' New Letter of the Center for Jewish Art, 12 (1996), http://cja.huji.ac.il/NL12-HIMBI.htm (accessed on 17 December 2010).

Bezalel Narkiss, 'The Seal of Solomon the Scribe: The Illustrations of the Albenc Pentateuch of 1340', in Between Judaism and Christianity: Art Historical Essays in Honor of Elisheva (Elisabeth) Revel-Neher, ed. by Katrin Kogman-Appel and Mati Meyer (Leiden: Brill, 2009), pp. 319-51 (p. 331).


Images
* * *
 
Decorated initial word

f. 57v
Decorated initial word
Decorated initial word

f. 57v
Decorated initial word
Decorated initial-word panel

f. 132v
Decorated initial-word panel
 
Decorated initial-word panel

f. 132v
Decorated initial-word panel
Carmina figurata

f. 157v
Carmina figurata
~Carmina figurata~

f. 219
Carmina figurata
 
Decorated initial-word panel

f. 223v
Decorated initial-word panel
Decorated initial-word panel

f. 223v
Decorated initial-word panel
~Carmina figurata~

f. 307
Carmina figurata
 

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