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Detailed record for Harley 2819

Title Bible, with the Psalms (ff. 208v-231v; imperfect) and the Interpretation of Hebrew Names (ff. 494-533), imperfect (starts in the middle of Exodus)
Origin France, Central (?Paris)
Date 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 13th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic,written below the top line
Decoration 71 historiated initials in gold and colours introducing each biblical book (ff. 19v, 31v, 48v, 64v, 86, 88, 102v, 114, 127, 140v, 152, 177, 183v, 187v, 198, 208v, 212, 214v, 216v, 218v, 222, 224v, 227, 240v, 243, 245, 251v, 268v, 288v, 313, 316v, 338, 347, 350, 351v, 354, 354v, 355v, 356v, 357v, 360, 361, 362, 365v, 367, 380, 389v, 402v, 411, 425, 435v, 446, 449v, 451v, 453, 454v, 457, 457v, 459, 460, 460v, 461, 465, 479v, 481, 482v, 483v, 485 (3), 486). Initials in gold and colours with foliate decoration and animal heads, introducing the prologues. Maiden and unicorn in the lower margin at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel which is introduced by a historiated initial with the Tree of Jesse (f. 389v). Numerous small initials in red or blue with pen flourishing in the same colours (including J-borders). Capitals in red or blue ink in the Psalms and the Interpretation of Hebrew Names.
Dimensions in mm 145 x 100 (105 x 65), in 2 columns
Official foliation f. 1* + ff. 534 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end)
Collation Mostly in quires of 24.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1968.
Provenance Concordance between the Gospels completed in a slightly later hand (f. 534r-534v, completed on ff. 535-537).
John Clifton (perhaps John Clifton, Prior of Reading Abbey between 1486 and 1490): inscribed late 15th century 'Comes de aym[...] a d[?]no ioh[annes] Clifton ?magister a d[omi]na de Staffordi ?a W. Ryman de edm(...)', partially erased, given to W. Ryman (f. 538).
W. Ryman: late 15th century (f. 538).
Added texts, ?15th century (ff. 1v-4v, 537v).
?K De la Poole: inscribed 15th or 16th-century 'pries pur moy for charyte' and his name (f. 538).
Thomas Baker (b. 1656, d. 1740), nonjuring Church of England clergyman and antiquary (deprived of his fellowship at St John's, Cambridge in 1717): autograph inscription 'Biblia latina a fronte mutila' (f. 1*), sold to Harley in 1715/16.
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 Concordance between the Gospels completed in a slightly later hand (f. 534r-v, completed on ff. 535-37). Very fine parchment.
?14th-century fragment used as flyleaf (ff. 1*a and 539).
Chapters start on a new line. Running titles have been trimmed when the manuscript was rebound, they have been rewritten in a later hand at the top right together with a folio number which takes into account the now missing section.
Lacuna between ff. 231 and 232: the Psalms stop in the middle of psalm 145 and chapter 1 of the Proverbs is missing.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2819.

C. E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 60, 128.


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Historiated initial

f. 389v
Historiated initial

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