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Detailed record for Harley 2677

Author Pliny the Elder
Title Historia naturalis
Origin Italy, Central (Rome)
Date c. 1457-1458
Language Latin
Script Humanistic
Scribe Written by two scribes
Artists Andrea da Firenze
Decoration 1 miniature in colours and gold showing Pliny writing in his study and a landscape with animals, rivers, the sea, sun and moon, combined with a large white vine initial and a three-sided white vine border containing birds and a wreath enclosing the arms of cardinal Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (f. 1). Large white vine initials in colours and gold (ff. 31, 48, 62v, 79, 98v, 113, 128, 139v, 152, 168, 175v, 183v, 192, 201, 216v, 235v, 261v, 275v, 308v, 321v, 334, 347v, 360v, 372v, 383v, 403v, 414, 425, 434v,445, 456, 468v, 483, 497v). Numerous initials in yellow, gold or white on a red, green or blue panel. Initials in gold on a ground combining blue, red and green (from f. 91). Coloured initials in gold or blue (ff. 11-20v).
Dimensions in mm 415 x 280 (275/280 x 165)
Official foliation ff. 509 (+ 3 paper flyleaves and 2 parchment flyleaves at the beginning+ 1 unfoliated parchment leaf at the end + 2 unfoliated parchment flyleaves and 3 paper flyleaves at the end)
Collation Mainly in quires of 10.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Remains of Harleian binding (gold-tooled red leather) pasted on the inside covers and f. [ii].
Provenance Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (b. 1405, d. 1464), of Siena, cardinal from December 1456, pope Pius II from August 1458, or possibly his nephew Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini (b. 1439, d. 1503): the Piccolomini arms surmounted by a cardinal hat (f. 1).
?John Gibson (fl. 1720-1726), dealer; may have been sold to Edward Harley on 9 November 1721 (Diary 1966; Wright 1972).
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 The miniature was painted by Andrea di Firenze, according to unpublished notes of A. C. de la Mare at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Leaf signatures. Catchwords.
Written by two scribes and decorated in different hands (change particularly noticeable from f. 91, for instance).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2677.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 121 n. 4.

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. 162, 276.

Cyril Ernest Wright, 'Manuscripts of Italian Provenance in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum: Their Sources, Associations and Channels of Acquisition', in Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance. Essays in Honour of Paul Oskar Kristeller, ed. by C. H. Clough (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1976), pp. 462-84 (p. 466).


Images
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Pliny

f. 1
Pliny
Pliny

f. 1
Pliny
White vine initial

f. 1
White vine initial
 
Arms

f. 1
Arms

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