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Detailed record for Harley 1687

Author William Brito ; Alexander Nequam
Title Expositiones vocabulorum Bibliae (ff. 2-127); Corrogationes Promethei (ff. 128-139)
Origin France or England
Date 2nd half of the 13th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic, written below the top line
Decoration 1 large blue initial with pen-flourishing in red and blue forming a partial border (f. 2). 22 puzzle initials with pen-flourishing in red and/or blue (ff. 2, 13, 16, 28, 32v, 38, 44v, 46v, 48, 54 (x2), 60, 68, 72, 75v, 92v, 94, 99, 114v, 120v, 126v, 127). 4 smaller initials in red or blue with penwork decoration in the other colour (f. 127). Simple initials in red or blue. Paraphs in red or blue.
Dimensions in mm 220 x 160 (150 x 100) in two columns
Official foliation ff. 139 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end).
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1969; traces of two metal fastenings of a previous binding on f. 1.
Provenance Written after the middle of the 13th century: Brito completed his 'Summa' between 1250 and 1270; it circulated widely by 1272; the centre of the distribution was Paris (see Summa Britonis, esp. I, pp. xiv, xxiii, xxxvi).
Added notes, ?14th century (f. 139v).
Added list, ?15th century: on the meaning of the 19 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (f. 1v).
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) (see 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 Quire marks (in the centre of the lower margin of the verso of the last leaf of the quire); leaf signatures (on the recto of the leaves of the first half of some quires: 'I'-'iiii'); catchwords.
f. 1 is a medieval parchment flyleaf; remains of a lost parchment flyleaf is pasted on f. 1
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I (1808), no. 1687.

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.

C. E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 361.

Summa Britonis sive Guillelmi Britonis Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie, ed. by Lloyd W. Daly and Bernardine A. Daly, 2 vols (Padua: Editrice Antenore, 1975), I, p. xliii.

G. L. Bursill-Hall, A Census of Medieval Latin Grammatical Manuscripts, Grammatica Speculativa: Sprachtheorie und Logik des Mittelalters, 4 (Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 1981), p. 117 no.116.

Richard W. Hunt, The Schools and the Cloister. The Life and Writings of Alexander Nequam (1157-1216), ed. by M. T. Gibson (Oxford, Clarendon 1984), p. 132

Catalogued for the Harley Medical Manuscripts Project [], accessed 29 May 2008.

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Puzzle initial

f. 2
Puzzle initial

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