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Detailed record for Harley 6561

Author Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples, translated by George Boleyn
Title Readings from the Gospels and the Epistles (Epistres et Evangiles des cinquante et deux sepmaines de l'an)
Origin England
Date 1st half of the 16th century (before 1533)
Language English, French
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration Full-page frontispiece in colours and gold with a miniature of the Crucifixion, an architectural border with sculptures of Peter and Paul, the coat of arms of Anne Boleyn, and subsidiary medallions of the four evangelists (f. 3v). Architectural border in gold with a large initial 'E'(t) in colours and gold with the arms of Anne Boleyn (f. 4). Architectural border in gold with the arms of Anne Boleyn, and very small initials in gold on red or blue grounds (f. 3). Coat of arms of Anne Boleyn in colours and gold (f. 2). Large initials with acanthus motifs in white, blue, gold or violet, on coloured grounds, several with arms or monograms, or the initials 'A. P.' Very small initials in gold on coloured grounds. Rubrics and running headers in blue.
Dimensions in mm 190 x 120 (135 x 85)
Official foliation ff. 203 (+ 4 unfoliated flyleaves at the beginning and 1 unfoliated paper and 1 parchment flyleaf at the end).
Collation Generally gatherings of 8.
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post 1600. Red leather with gold tooling; gilt edges.
Provenance Anne Boleyn (b. c. 1500, d. 1536), queen of England, 2nd consort of Henry VIII: her arms of Brotherton, gules, 3 lions passant guardant or, a label argent; Warenne chequy or and argent (arms of the earls of Surrey); Ormonde, or, a chief indented azure; Rochford argent, a lion rampant sable, crowned gules, monogram, and the initials 'A.P.' (Anne Pembroke) (ff. 2, 3, 3v, 4 etc.). Also cipher containing the letters for both 'Boleyn' and 'Goerge' (f. 1v): probably a New Year's Gift to here, composed and produced in 1532: see Carley 1998.
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 Fifty-two readings from the Epistles and the Gospels, one for each Sunday in the year. The Gospels are in French, the expositions, in English. According to Carley, the commentary text was translated from French into English by George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, for his sister Anne (Carley 2004, p. 129).
The decoration of Harley 6561 is similar to that of Alnwick Castle, MS Percy 465, and both manuscripts were written by the same scribe (Carley 2000, p. lvii).
Ruled in red.
Added leaf from a late fourteenth-century English liturgical manuscript with blue initials with red pen-flourishing (f. 203).
Anne Boleyn's arms: Brotherton, gules, 3 lions passant guardant or, a label argent; Warenne chequy or and argent (arms of the Earls of Surrey); Ormonde, or, a chief indented azure; Rochford argent, a lion rampant sable, crowned gules.
For another manuscript made for Anne Boleyn, see Harley 303.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 6561.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 75.

James P. Carley, 'Her moost lovyng and fryndely brother sendeth gretyng': Anne Boleyn's Manuscripts and their Sources', in Illuminating the Book: Makers and Interpreters, ed. by Michelle P. Brown and Scot McKendrick (London: British Library, 1998), pp. 261-80 (pp. 261-67, 271).

James P. Carley, The Libraries of King Henry VIII (London: British Library, 2000), p. lvii.

James P. Carley, The Books of King Henry VIII and His Wives (London: British Library, 2004), pp. 125-26, pls 113, 121.

Henry VIII: Man and Monarch, ed. by Susan Doran (London: British Library, 2009), no. 144 [exhibition catalogue].


Images
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Crucifixion

f. 3
Crucifixion
Crucifixion and arms of Anne Boleyn

ff. 3v-4
Crucifixion and arms of Anne Boleyn
Reading for the fourth Sunday after Easter

f. 98v
Reading for the fourth Sunday after Easter
 
Reading for the third and fourth Sunday after Easter

f. 99
Reading for the third and fourth Sunday after Easter

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