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Detailed record for Harley 2278

Author John Lydgate
Title Metrical lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund, in the presentation copy for Henry VI, including the prologue (ff. 1v-5)
Origin England, S. (probably Bury St Edmunds)
Date between 1434 and 1439
Language English and Latin
Script Gothic cursive
Artists Robert Pygot, as Hand III, according to Rogers
Decoration 2 full-page miniatures in colours and gold (ff. 1v, 3v), perhaps added later. 118 large framed rectangular miniatures in colours and gold. 1 large historiated initial in colours and gold, forming a 3-sided border (f. 10v). Large initials in colours on gold grounds, with foliate decoration extending into the margins (ff. 2, 4, 4v, 5, 6, 118v, 119v). Large initials in gold on red and blue patterned grounds, with foliate sprays in colours and/or gold extending into the margins. Large initial in green, pink, and white (f. 69v). Cadels with penwork decoration in brown and/or black. Paraphs in pink. Small initials and display script in red or blue (f. 119v). Text in red.
Dimensions in mm 250 x 170 (140 x 90)
Official foliation ff. 119 (+ 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves and 3 unfoliated parchment leaves at the beginning and 1 parchment leaf and 1 paper flyleaf at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Red leather with gold tooling; gilt edges.
Provenance Possibly made under the supervision of John Lydgate (b. c.1370, d. 1449/50?), poet and prior of Hatfield Regis.
Commissioned by William Curteys, abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St Edmund, Bury St Edmunds, as a gift for Henry VI: the royal arms in an initial (f. 6); a portrait of the king (ff. v, 6); later royal pressmark 'No 467' (f. 1).
John Touchet, 8th Baron of Audley (d.1559).: inscription of Thomas Audelay 'Audelay baron' (f. 119v).
Early 18th-century inscription 'Mrs L D' (f. [ii]).
Sold on 16 August 1720 by Edward Colston to Robert Harley for £31.10s.
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, inscribed as usual with the date of acquisition by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley '16 die Augusti A. D. 1720.' (f. [iii]); inscribed 'Oxford B H' (f. 2).
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 John Lydgate (probably from Lidgate or Lydgate, 10 miles from Bury), a monk of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, translated this work on the life of king Edmund and his cousin Fremund from Latin into English verse to be presented to the 12 year old King Henry VI, to commemorate his stay at Bury from Christmas 1433 to Easter 1434.
It is likely that this manuscript was made at Bury under Lydgate's supervision for presentation to the king, and completed at some point thereafter, probably before 1439, when Lydgate began to receive a royal pension, and Abbot Wheathampstead of St Albans commissioned a similar work.
A. S. G. Edwards, in the preface to the 2004 facsimile, commented that 'Harley 2278 is probably the most important illustrated manuscript of Middle English verse to be produced in the fifteenth century.'
Edmund was an East Anglian king, killed by Danish invaders in 870 at the age of 29. The poem also includes the life of Fremund, the son of Edmund's sister Bothild.
There are 12 known surviving manuscripts of the complete text (see Edwards 2004 p. 5).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2278.

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. 15.

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 (pp. xviii, xxii).

[J. A. Herbert], Illuminated Manuscripts and Bindings of Manuscripts Exhibited in The Grenville Library, Guide to the Exhibited Manuscripts, 3 (Oxford: British Museum, 1923), no. 36.

Eric. G. Millar, English Illuminated Manuscripts of the XIVth and XVth Century (Paris: Van Oest, 1928), p. 91.

Joan Evans, English Art 1307-1461, Oxford History of English Art, 5 (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1949), p. 92 n. 3.

C. E. Wright, English Vernacular Hands from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Centuries (Oxford, 1960), no.18.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, ed. by N. R. Ker, 2nd edn, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 3 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 22.

C. E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 56, 110, 122, 186.

C. M. Kauffmann, Romanesque Manuscripts 1066-1190 Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 3 (London: Harvey Miller, 1975), p. 74.

Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Manuscript (Oxford: Phaidon, 1979), pl. 56.

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. 646.

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. 337, 340, 341, 351 n. 51, 352, etc., figs 7, 8).

J. J. G. Alexander, 'Painting and Manuscript Illumination for Royal Patrons in the Later Middle Ages', in English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages, ed. by V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne (London: Duckworth, 1983), pp. 141-62 (p. 151, pl. 11).

A. I. Doyle, 'English Books In and Out of Court from Edward III to Henry VII', in English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages, ed. by V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne (London: Duckworth, 1983), pp. 163-82 (p. 174).

Nicholas J. Rogers, ‘Fitzwilliam Museum MS 3-1979: A Bury St Edmunds Book of Hours and the Origins of the Bury Style’, in England in the Fifteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1986 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by David Williams (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1987), pp. 229-43 (pp. 231, 235-36, pl. 4).

Two East Anglian Picture Books : A Facsimile of the Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary and Bodleian Ms. Ashmole 1504, ed. by Nicolas Barker (London: The Roxburghe Club, 1988), p. 11.

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. 56 n. 22).

A. I. Doyle, 'Book Production by the Monastic Orders in England (c. 1375-1530)', in Medieval Book Production: Assessing the Evidence, ed. by Linda l. Brownrigg, Proceedings of the Second Conference of The Seminar in the History of the Book to 1500, Oxford, July 1998 (Los Altos Hills, California: Anderson-Lovelace, 1990), pp. 1-21 (p. 7).

D. B. Mahoney, 'Courtly Presentation and Authorial Self-fashioning: Frontispiece Miniatures in Late Medieval French and English Manuscripts.', Medievalia: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Medieval Studies Worldwide, 21 (1996), 97-142 (pp. 125-26).

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. 78, pls 310-13.

Nicholas Rogers, 'The Bury Artists of Harley 2278 and the Origins of Topographical Awareness in English Art', in Bury St Edmunds: Medieval Art, Architecture, Archaeology and Economy, ed. by A. Gransden, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, 20 (Leeds, 1998), pp. 217-27.

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. 277, 279.

Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547, ed. by Richard Marks and Paul Williamson (London: V & A Publications, 2003), no. 318, pp. 95, 181, pl. 122 [exhibition catalogue].

James P. Carley, The Books of King Henry VIII and His Wives, preface by David Starkey (London: British Library, 2004), pl. 33.

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) [facsimile].

Greg Buzwell, Saints in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2005), pp. 45-46.

Joe Flatman, Ships and Shipping in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2009), pls 80, 83.

Sonja Drimmer, 'Picturing the King or the Saint: Two Miniature Programmes for Lydgate's Lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund', in Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe 1350-1550: Packaging, Presentation and Consumption, ed. by E. Cayley and S. Powell (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, forthcoming 2012).


Images
* * *
 
The Temptation

f. 1v
The Temptation
Arms of Bury

f. 3v
Arms of Bury
Henry VI praying

f. 4v
Henry VI praying
 
Illuminated initials

f. 5
Illuminated initials
Presentation of the text

f. 6
Presentation of the text
Presentation of the text

f. 6
Presentation of the text
 
Presentation of the text

f. 6
Presentation of the text
Lydgate praying

f. 9
Lydgate praying
Alkmund and Siware

f. 10
Alkmund and Siware
 
David and a lion

f. 10v
David and a lion
Edmund's parents

f. 11v
Edmund's parents
Alkmund on pilgrimage

f. 12
Alkmund on pilgrimage
 
Alkmund

f. 13
Alkmund
Birth of Edmund

f. 13v
Birth of Edmund
Offa at sea

f. 16v
Offa at sea
 
Offa

f. 17
Offa
Offa and Edmund

f. 18v
Offa and Edmund
Offa and Edmund

f. 19
Offa and Edmund
 
Offa

f. 20
Offa
Holy Sepulchre

f. 20v
Holy Sepulchre
Offa

f. 21
Offa
 
Offa's funeral

f. 22
Offa's funeral
Offa's burial

f. 22v
Offa's burial
Offa's funeral

f. 22v
Offa's funeral
 
Messengers

f. 23
Messengers
Alkmund's court

f. 24
Alkmund's court
Alkmund and Edmund

f. 25
Alkmund and Edmund
 
Court

f. 25
Court
Alkmund with clerks

f. 25v
Alkmund with clerks
Alkmund

f. 25v
Alkmund
 
Edmund's departure

f. 26
Edmund's departure
Edmund's departure

f. 27
Edmund's departure
Edmund's arrival

f. 27v
Edmund's arrival
 
Edmund praying

f. 28
Edmund praying
Edmund praying

f. 28
Edmund praying
Building of Hunstanton

f. 28v
Building of Hunstanton
 
Edmund holding court

f. 29
Edmund holding court
Bishop Kunbertus

f. 29v
Bishop Kunbertus
Edmund travelling

f. 30
Edmund travelling
 
Edmund's coronation

f. 31
Edmund's coronation
Detail

f. 32
Detail
Detail

f. 34
Detail
 
Detail

f. 36
Detail
Edmund and hunting

f. 37
Edmund and hunting
Detail

f. 39
Detail
 
Lothbrok

f. 41v
Lothbrok
Lothbrok

f. 42
Lothbrok
Lothbrok hunting

f. 43v
Lothbrok hunting
 
Bern

f. 44
Bern
Lothbrok's dog

f. 44v
Lothbrok's dog
Lothbrok's dog

f. 45v
Lothbrok's dog
 
Bern

f. 46
Bern
Bern's arrival

f. 47
Bern's arrival
Hyngwar

f. 47v
Hyngwar
 
Danes pillaging

f. 48
Danes pillaging
English submitting

f. 48v
English submitting
Illuminated initial

f. 49v
Illuminated initial
 
Edmund

f. 50
Edmund
Messenger

f. 52
Messenger
Edmund

f. 52v
Edmund
 
Edmund asking advice

f. 54
Edmund asking advice
Edmund

f. 55v
Edmund
Edmund

f. 56v
Edmund
 
Messenger

f. 58
Messenger
Edmund of Hyngwar

f. 58v
Edmund of Hyngwar
Edmund

f. 60v
Edmund
 
Edmund being shot

f. 61
Edmund being shot
Martyrdom of Edmund

f. 62
Martyrdom of Edmund
Martyrdom of Edmund

f. 63
Martyrdom of Edmund
 
Edmund's head

f. 63v
Edmund's head
Wolf with Edmund's head

f. 64
Wolf with Edmund's head
Edmund's body

f. 65
Edmund's body
 
Edmund's head

f. 66
Edmund's head
Edmund's head

f. 66
Edmund's head
Restoration

f. 67v
Restoration
 
Tomb of Edmund

f. 68v
Tomb of Edmund
Decorated Initial

f. 69v
Decorated Initial
Illuminated initial

f. 70
Illuminated initial
 
Detail

f. 72
Detail
Rainbow

f. 72v
Rainbow
Burchard writing

f. 74
Burchard writing
 
Detail

f. 75
Detail
Detail

f. 76
Detail
Fremund's christening

f. 77
Fremund's christening
 
Detail

f. 79
Detail
Detail

f. 79v
Detail
Detail

f. 80
Detail
 
Fremund at prayer

f. 81
Fremund at prayer
Detail

f. 82v
Detail
Detail

f. 83
Detail
 
Detail

f. 84v
Detail
Detail

f. 85
Detail
Detail

f. 85v
Detail
 
Miniatures

f. 86
Miniatures
Fremund at battle

f. 86v
Fremund at battle
Detail

f. 87v
Detail
 
Detail

f. 88
Detail
Detail

f. 88v
Detail
Fremund's head

f. 89
Fremund's head
 
Detail

f. 90
Detail
Detail

f. 90v
Detail
Detail

f. 91
Detail
 
Detail

f. 91v
Detail
Detail

f. 92
Detail
Detail

f. 92v
Detail
 
Miniatures

f. 93v
Miniatures
Detail

f. 94
Detail
Detail

f. 95
Detail
 
Detail

f. 96
Detail
Detail

f. 96v
Detail
Detail

f. 97
Detail
 
Miniatures

f. 97v
Miniatures
Arrival of the Danes

f. 98v
Arrival of the Danes
Shrine of Edmund

f. 100v
Shrine of Edmund
 
Edmund and Ailwyn

f. 102v
Edmund and Ailwyn
Murder of Sweyn

f. 103v
Murder of Sweyn
Sweyn; shrine of Edmund

ff. 105v-106
Sweyn; shrine of Edmund
 
Sweyn; shrine of Edmund

ff. 105v-106
Sweyn; shrine of Edmund
Death of Sweyn

f. 105v
Death of Sweyn
Death of Sweyn

f. 105v
Death of Sweyn
 
Edmund's shrine

f. 106
Edmund's shrine
Woman

f. 106
Woman
Woman

f. 106
Woman
 
Leofstan

f. 107v
Leofstan
Knights

f. 108
Knights
Edmund's shrine

f. 108v
Edmund's shrine
 
Thief

f. 109
Thief
Edmund's tomb

f. 110v
Edmund's tomb
Ailwyn at Cripplegate

f. 112v
Ailwyn at Cripplegate
 
Edmund's tomb

f. 113v
Edmund's tomb
Edmund's body

f. 114v
Edmund's body
Edmund's body

f. 115
Edmund's body
 
Bury St. Edmond's

f. 115v
Bury St. Edmond's
Bury St. Edmund's

f. 115v
Bury St. Edmund's
Entombment of Edmund

f. 117
Entombment of Edmund
 

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