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Detailed record for Harley Roll Y.6

Part 1 n/a 
Title Life of Guthlac (the 'Guthlac Roll')
Origin England (possibly Crowland)
Date Last quarter of the 12th century or 1st quarter of the 13th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Decoration 18 tinted drawings in roundels (16 cm in diameter), with Latin captions; the first roundel has been trimmed and only the right half remains.
Dimensions in mm 285 x 17
 
Part 2  
Title Episodes from the Life of Samuel
Origin England
Date 14th century
Decoration Sketches in brown ink added to the verso of the Guthlac Roll.
Dimensions in mm 285 x 17
 
Official foliation 4 1/2 pieces of parchment
Form Parchment roll
Binding n/a
Provenance The Benedictine abbey of Crowland, Lincolnshire: images of its benefactors, including king Æthelbald of Mercia.
Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (b. 1571, d. 1631), 1st baronet, antiquary and politician: 'Cotton Roll' inscribed at the top of the first section of parchment.
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 Complete CD coverage of the roll is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.
The Guthlac Roll is about 17cm wide and nearly 3m long, composed of four and a half pieces of parchment attached end-to-end, on which are drawn a series of scenes of the life of his life in roundels. Some scholars have suggested that the roundels are designs for stained-glass windows.
Select bibliography Jacob Schnebbelie, 'Account of St. Guthlac' in The Antiquaries Museum, illustrating the Antient Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture of Great Britain, from the time of the Saxons to the reign of King James I (London: Nichols, 1791-92), pp. 1-32 (pls I-IX).

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. 4.

[George Warner], Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series I, (London: British Museum, 1907), pl. 8.

John Alexander Herbert, Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Methuen, 1911), p. 140.

H. Vassall, 'The vignettes of St Guthlac as reproduced in the windows of Repton School Library', Journal of Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 35 (1913), p. 247 ff.

Egerton Beck, 'The Crozier in Heraldry and Ornament', The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, 24 (1914), 335-40 (p. 338, fig. 7).

W.R. Lethaby, 'The Guthlac Roll', Burlington Magazine, 31 (1917), p.147 ff.

[John Alexander Herbert], Illuminated Manuscripts and Bindings of Manuscripts Exhibited in The Grenville Library, Guide to the Exhibited Manuscripts, 3 (Oxford: British Museum, 1923), no. 17.

George Warner, The Guthlac Roll (London: Roxburghe Club, 1928) [facsimile].

Guide to an Exhibition of English Art gathered from Various Departments and held in the Prints and Drawings Gallery (London: British Museum, 1934), no. 99.

Francis Wormald, 'Some Illustrated Manuscripts of the Lives of the Saints', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 35 (1952), 248-66 (pp. 262-63).

Richard Branner, 'Le rouleau de Saint Éloi', Information de l’Histoire de l’Art, 12 (1967), p. 65.

Derek Howard Turner, Illuminated Manuscripts Exhibited in the Grenville Library (London, 1967), no. 11.

M. W. Evans, Medieval Drawings (London: Hamlyn, 1969), no. 91.

D. H. Farmer, 'Guthlac von Crowland', Lexikon der christlichen Iknongraphie, 6 (1974), col. 466.

Joanthan G. Alexander, 'The Middle Ages', in The Genius of British Painting, ed. by David Piper (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1975), p. 36.

Carl Nordenfalk, 'Heaven and Hell in a Bohemian Bible of the Early Thirteenth Century' in The Year 1200: A Symposium (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975), pp. 283-300 (fig. 11).

The Benedictines in Britain, British Library Series, 3 (London: British Library, 1980), no. 35 [exhibition catalogue].

Nigel Morgan, Early Gothic Manuscripts, 2 vols, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 4 (London Harvey Miller, 1982-1988), I: 1190-1250, no. 22.

George Henderson, 'The Imagery of St Guthlac of Crowland' in England in the Thirteenth-Century: Proceedings of the 1984 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by W.M. Ormrod (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1985), p. 85.

Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200-1400 ed. by Jonathan J. G. Alexander and Paul Binski (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1987), no. 37 [exhibition catalogue].

Suzanne Lewis, The Art of Matthew Paris in the Chronica Majora (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1987), pp. 10, 30.

Charles Kightly, A Mirror of Medieval Wales: Gerald of Wales and his Journey of 1188 (Cardiff: Cadw, 1988), p. 85.

Kimberly Kelly, 'Factors Behind the Production of the Guthlac Roll', Athanor, 7 (1989), 1-13.

Michael T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England 1066-1307 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), p. 257, 384-85, and front cover.

Peter C. Jupp and Clare Gittings, Death in England: An Illustrated History (Manchester: University of Manschester Press, 1999), fig. 36.

Michelle P. Brown, ‘Marvels of the West: Giraldus Cambrensis and the Role of the Author in the Development of Marginal Illustration’, in Decoration and Illustration in Medieval English Manuscripts, ed. by A. S. G. Edwards, English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700, 10 (London: British Library, 2002), pp. 34-59 (p. 39).

Alfred Hiatt, The Making of Medieval Forgeries: False Documents in Fifteenth-Century England (London: British Library, 2004), pp. 42-43, fig. 4.

The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, ed. by Paul Binski and Stella Panayotova (London: Harvey Miller, 2005), p. 310.

John Black, 'Tradition and Transformation in the Cult of St. Guthlac in Early Medieval England', The Heroic Age: A Journal of Medieval Northwestern Europe, 10 (2007), 1-21 (p. 10) http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/issues/10/black.html> [accessed 19 December 2008].

Michelle Brown, The Holkham Bible: A Facsimile (London, British Library, 2007), p. 11.

Deirdre Jackson, Marvellous to Behold: Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2007), pls 45-46.

Joe Flatman, Ships and Shipping in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2009), pl. 22.

Melanie Holcomb, Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009), pp. 8, 139, fig. 40.1 [exhibition catalogue].


Images

Part  1   n/a
Life of Guthlac (the 'Guthlac Roll')
* * *
 
Guthlac in contemplation

Roundel 1 and 2
Guthlac in contemplation
Guthlac is tonsured

Roundel 3
Guthlac is tonsured
Guthlac sails to Crowland

Roundel 4
Guthlac sails to Crowland
 
Guthlac builds a chapel

Roundel 5
Guthlac builds a chapel
Angel visits Guthlac

Roundel 6
Angel visits Guthlac
Demons attack Guthlac

Roundel 7
Demons attack Guthlac
 
Bartholomew appears to  Guthlac

Roundel 8
Bartholomew appears to Guthlac
Guthlac overcomes the demons

Roundel 9
Guthlac overcomes the demons
Guthlac heals a demoniac

Roundel 10
Guthlac heals a demoniac
 
Guthlac is ordained

Roundel 11
Guthlac is ordained
Guthlac comforts Ethelbald

Roundel 12
Guthlac comforts Ethelbald
Guthlac speaks to Beccelm

Roundel 13
Guthlac speaks to Beccelm
 
Death of Guthlac

Roundel 14
Death of Guthlac
Beccelm speaks to Pega

Roundel 15
Beccelm speaks to Pega
Burial of Guthlac

Roundel 16
Burial of Guthlac
 
Ethelbald's vision

Roundel 17
Ethelbald's vision
Benefactors of Crowland Abbey

Roundel 18
Benefactors of Crowland Abbey

Part  2  
Episodes from the Life of Samuel
* * *
 
Hannah praying

Verso 1
Hannah praying
Battle scene and the ark of the covenant

Verso 3
Battle scene and the ark of the covenant
Fall of Dagon and ark of the covenant returned

Verso 4
Fall of Dagon and ark of the covenant returned
 

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