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Detailed record for Harley 2639

Author Caius Suetonius Tranquillus, Cornelius Tacitus
Title De grammaticis et rhetoribus (ff. 2-14v); Dialogus de oratoribus (ff. 15-42v)
Origin Italy, N. (Padua)
Date c. 1450-c. 1460 (before 1462)
Language Latin
Script Humanistic
Decoration White vine initial and wreath enclosing the arms and crest of John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester (f. 2). Large initial in gold on a blue and red panel with pen-flourishing and besants extending into the margin (f. 15). Smaller initials in purple or green with pen-flourishing in the other colour.
Dimensions in mm 200 x 145 (135 x 85)
Official foliation ff. 43 (+ 1 unfoliated paper flyleaf at the beginning + 1 unfoliated ruled parchment leaf after f. 37 + 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. 'Harleian' binding of gold-tooled red leather; marbled endpapers.
Provenance Written by John Free, probably in Padua, for John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester (b. 1427, d. 1470), administrator and humanist: his arms and crest (f. 2), probably sent to him after his return to England from Italy in September 1461 (see Wright 1972).
William Cecil (b. 1520/21, d. 1598), 1st baron Burghley, royal minister: his library sold on 21 November 1687, lot 108 (Wright 1972).
Ambrose Bonwicke, the elder (b. 1652, d. 1722), nonjuring Church of England clergyman and schoolmaster, headmaster of the Merchant Taylors' School from 1686 to 1691: inscribed 'Ambrosij Bonvici 1687' (f. 1).
William Bowyer the younger (b. 1699, d. 1777), printer, executor of James Bonwicke, younger son of Ambrose Bonwicke: sold to Edward Harley together with other manuscripts from the Bonwicke collection on 11 September 1725 (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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley ‘11 Septembris, A.D. 1725’ (f. 1).
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 f. 1 is a parchment ruled leaf.
List of contents (f. 1v).
Select bibliography (see [Edward Bernard], Catalogi librorum manuscriptorum Angliae et Hiberniae, 3 vols (Oxford: Sheldonian, 1697), II, p. 250, no. 8723.

A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2639.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), II: 1723-1726, p. 376 n. 5.

Duke Humfrey and English Humanism in the Fifteenth Century: Catalogue of an exhibition held in the Bodleian Library (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1970), no. 71 [exhibition catalogue, with additional bibliography].

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. 76, 79, 99, 329, 337.

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 (pp. 474, 476).

Paul Oskar Kristeller, Iter Italicum: Accedunt Alia Itinera: A Finding List of Uncatalogued or Incompletely Catalogued Humanistic Manuscripts of the Renaissance in Italian and other Libraries 7 vols (London: Warburg Institute; Leiden: Brill, 1963-1997), IV (1989), p. 164-65.


Images
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White vine initial

f. 2
White vine initial
Illuminated initial

f. 15
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

f. 15
Illuminated initial
 

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