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Detailed record for Harley 5790

Title Gospels
Origin Italy, Central (Rome)
Date 25 April 1478
Language Greek
Script Greek minuscule
Scribe Ioannes Rhosos (John Rhosos of Crete)
Decoration 3 large miniatures in colours and gold of Mark, Luke, and John (ff. 87v, 142v, 232v). Small miniatures in colours and gold in rectangular frames at the beginning of Gospels (ff. 4, 88, 143, 233). Large initials in colours and gold, in rectangular frames, at the beginning of Gospels (ff. 4, 88, 143, 233). Marginal figures in colours and gold (ff. 88, 143, 233) Initials in red, with penwork decoration. Marginal text in red. Highlighting of letters and initials in yellow. Decorated endpieces with interlace in red and yellow (ff. 84v, 138, 142v, 230, 297v, 298).
Dimensions in mm 310 x 215 (190 x 105)
Official foliation ff. 299 ( + 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end + an unfoliated parchment leaf after f. 2, and 2 after f. 299)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Dark blue leather with blind tooling
Provenance Written by the Cretan scribe Ioannes Rhosos at Rome in 1478 for Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga (d.1483): inscription (f. 299).
Giovanni Pietro Arrivabene, Gonzaga's secretary: his signature 'Io. petri. Arrivabeni' (f. 1v); not listed in Gonzaga's inventory at his death (see discussion Chambers 1981).
Nathaniel Noel: purchased for the Harleian Library between 20 January between 1721 and 1722: see below.
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 by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley ''20 die January A. D. 1721/22' (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 Note that Rhosos also wrote the Vatican Homer in 1477 for Cardinal Gonazaga: see Alexander.
Alphabetical quire signatures.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts, in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), III (1808), no. 5790.

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. 2.

J. A. Herbert, Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Methuen, 1911), p. 65.

K. A. De Meyer, 'Cyrus Giannelli, Codices Vaticani Graeci: codices 1458-1683. In Bybliotheca Vaticana, 1950, XXVIII-536 pp.', Scriptorium, 7 (1953), p. 155, n. 10.

Mostra dei codici Gonzagheschi: La Biblioteca dei Gonzaga da Luigi I ad Isabella, 1328-1540, ed. by U. Meroni (Mantua: Biblioteca Communale, 1966), pp. 37, 60, 61, pl. 115.

J. J. G. Alexander and A. C. de la Mare, The Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J. R. Abbey (London: Faber and Faber, 1969), p.109.

J. J. G. Alexander, 'Notes on Some Veneto-Paduan Illuminated Books of the Renaissance', Arte veneta, 23 (1969), 9-20 (p. 20 n. 44).

J. J. G. Alexander, 'A MS of Petrarch's Rime and Trionfi', Victoria and Albert Museum Year Book, (1970), p. 39 n. 37.

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. 474).

Repertorium der griechischen Kopisten 800-1600, ed. by Ernst Gamillscheg and Dieter Harlfinger, Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Byzantinistik, 3-1, ed. by Herbert Hunger (Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1981- ), I: Handschriften aus Bibliotheken Grossbritanniens, 3 vols, I, no. 178.

Splendours of the Gonzaga, ed. by David Chambers and Jane Martineau. (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1981), no. 26 (exhibition catalogue).

Ulrike Bauer-Eberhardt, ‘Lauro Padovano und Leonardo Bellini als Maler, Miniatoren und Zeichner’, Pantheon: Internationale Jahreszeitschrift für Kunst, 47 (1989), 49-82 (p. 69).

David S. Chambers, A Renaissance Cardinal and his Worldly Goods: The Will and Inventory of Francesco Gonzaga (1444-1483) (London, 1992), pp. 61-62.

Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des neuen Testaments, ed. by Kurt Aland, Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen Textforschung, 1 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1994), no. 448.

The Painted Page: Italian Renaissance Book Illumination 1450-1550, ed. by Jonathan J. G. Alexander (London: Prestel, 1994), p.106.

John Lowden, 'Byzantium Perceived through Illuminated Manuscripts: Now and Then', in Through the Looking Glass: Byzantium Through British Eyes, ed. by Robin Cormack and Elizabeth Jeffreys, Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies, 7 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1995), pp. 85-106 (p. 91 n. 10).

Summary Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts (London: British Library, 1999- ), I, 193-94 [with additional bibliography].

Robert Nelson, 'Byzantium and the Rebirth of Art and Learning in Italy and France', Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557), ed. by Helen C. Evans (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven (Conn.); London: Yale University Press, c2004), pp. 523, fig. 16.11

Andrea Mantegna e i Gonzaga: Rinascimento nel castello di San Giorgio, ed. by Filippo Trevisani (Milan: Electa, 2006), p. 259.

Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2007), no. 138.


Images
* * *
 
Christ blessing

f. 4
Christ blessing
Mark

f. 87v
Mark
Christ

f. 88
Christ
 
Luke

f. 142v
Luke
Mary

f. 143
Mary
John

f. 232v
John
 
John

f. 232v
John
John

ff. 232v-233
John
Christ blessing

f. 233
Christ blessing
 

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