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Detailed record for Harley 1629

Title Prophecies of Merlin (imperfect)
Origin France, N.
Date 2nd half of the 13th century
Language French
Script Gothic, written below the top line
Decoration 2 small miniatures in gold and colours with partial foliate bar borders extending into the margin ending in an animal head, of a cleric praying by Merlin's tomb, with a female figure standing in the margin (f. 29v), and of Dynadam writing in a cemetery by the tomb of Pendragon, with a hybrid creature in the margin (f. 70). Excised miniature with a partial bar border ending in a human head and a dragon with knotted tail (f. 47v). Initials in red or blue with pen-flourishing in the other colour.
Dimensions in mm 320 x 245 (210 x 150), in 2 columns
Official foliation ff. 70 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Red leather with gold fillets, marbled endpapers.
Provenance Inscribed 'ffowlke ap Thomas', 'thomas ap ?M ap Robert', early 16th century? (f. 33).
Lloyd (son of David Lloyd), Wales, end of 16th century: inscribed 'ffowlke ap d[avi]d lloyd est possessor' (f. 33), inscription in the ?same hand (f. 30v).
Henry Worsley (b. 1675, d. 1747), scholar and manuscript collector, envoy at the Court of Portugal (1714-21) and governor of Barbados (1721-31): donated by him to Robert Harley together with other manuscripts from Worsley's collection (now Harley 1585-1747, 1811, 1812) before December 1712 (see Diary 1966).
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 Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at
Catchwords written horizontally.
This manuscript consists of three main parts and a few odd leaves.
Watermark on f. [iv].
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I, no. 1629.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Ilustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 7.

Georg Graf Vitzthum, Die Pariser Miniaturmalerei: von der Zeit des hl. Ludwig bis zu Philipp von Valois und ihr Verhältnis zur Malerei in Nordwesteuropa (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer), 1907), p. 123.

H. L. D. Ward and J. A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), I, 373-74.

Lucy Allen Paton, Les Prophecies de Merlin: edited from Ms. 593 in the Bibliotheque municipale of Rennes (New York: Heath, 1926), pp. 18-19.

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, pp. xix-xx.

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. 224, 361.

Fanni Bogdanow and Richard Trachsler, ' Rewriting Prose Romance' in The Arthur of the French, ed. by Glyn S. Burgess and Karen Pratt , Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, 4 vols (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2006), IV, pp. 342-392 (p. 356).

* * *
Text page

f. 2
Text page
Praying cleric

f. 29v
Praying cleric

f. 47v
Dynadam at Pendragon's tomb

f. 70
Dynadam at Pendragon's tomb

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