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Detailed record for Harley 3869

Author John Gower
Title Confessio amantis, with the Traitié pour essampler les amantz marietz, and a Latin prayer and two Latin Marian lyrics
Origin England, S. E. (London?)
Date 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 15th century (after 1408?)
Language English and Latin (rubrics only) (ff. 2-357), French and Latin (ff. 357v-366v)
Script Gothic
Decoration 2 miniatures in colours and gold (Nebuchadnezzar in bed with the Image of precious metals (f. 5), the Lover kneeling before a confessor in a landscape, in a border with foliate feathering extending into the margins (f. 18)). Decorated initial in colours and gold with acanthus leaves and foliate feathering extending into the margin (f. 5). Initials in blue or red with pen-flourishing in the other colour, including foliate motifs (male face on f. 167). Some initials in red with brown pen-flourishing (e.g., ff. 99r-v, 171r-v, 188-192v). Capitals marked in red. Paraphs in blue.
Dimensions in mm 280 x 200 (210 x 70)
Official foliation ff. 368 (+ 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 3 at the end)
Collation Mainly in quires of 8.
Form Paper and parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Marbled endpapers; edges tinted in brown ink.
Provenance Basil Feilding (1500-82) and his wife Goodith, daughter and co-heiress of William Willington, of Barcheston, Warwickshire, 16th century: inscribed with their names 'Basyl ffyldyng' and 'Goodythe ffylding' (ff. 366v, 367).
?Valery Penson, 16th century: inscribed 'Liber ?Valerij ?pensoni ex [inscription partly erased and written over] Peacock ano 15?97' (f. 4v).
George Cogiluy, in 1628: inscribed '1628 George Cogiluy' (f. 1), 'George Cogiluy 28 Jar 1628' (f. 4v), 'George Cogiluy' (f. 357).
Inscribed pressmark 'Nn' (f. 1).
Added pencil drawing of a female face, post-medieval? (f. 167v).
Inscribed 17th century 'R. C.' (f. 2; mistakenly noted as f. 1 in 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 'Janu. 22 ?1729/30 Oxford' (f. 2), inscribed '1449 28 of May […] the citie of London' (by their librarian Humfrey Wanley?] (f. 2)..
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 http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts.
This text was composed c. 1390 by John Gower (b. c. 1330, d. 1408), and is in the third recension of the text.
One of 13 manuscripts containing an image of the Lover's Confession. See J. A. Burrow, ‘The Portrayal of Amans in ‘Confessio Amantis’’, Gower’s Confessio Amantis: Responses and Reassessments, ed. by A. J. Minnis (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1983), pp. 5-24 (p. 12 n. 7).
Beginning with texts in English and Latin verse on parchment leaves (ff. 2-4v, 366v-368) including verses attributed to John Lydgate for pageants at Queen Margaret's Entry into London in May 1445 (ff. 2-4v).
F. 1 is a parchment flyleaf. Ff. 2-4 are parchment leaves.
The outer and inner bifolia of each quire are of parchment.
Watermark visible of a unicorn head (e.g. f. 25; not in Briquet).
Leaf signatures throughout the whole quire. Catchwords written horizontally (some catchwords seem not to correspond to quire divisions).
The poems at the end include poems on the vices, and one 'in memoriam Johannis Gower' (f. 366v), which seems to imply that he was dead by the time this text was written (John Gower died in 1408).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 3869.

Thomas Tyrwhitt, 'Essay on the Language and Versification of
Chaucer. Part the Third', in Essays on the Art of Chaucer's Verse, ed. by Alan T. Gaylord (Routledge, 2001; originally printed in The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, with An Essay on his Language and Versification, and An Introductory Discourse; together with Notes and a Glossary (London: Edward Moxon, 1843), pp. xvi-xlv, p. 44.

Carleton Brown, 'Lydgate's Verses on Queen Margaret's Entry into London', Modern Language Review, 7 (1912), 226-31 [on the pageant verses ff. 2-4v].

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. 91, 107, 158.

J. A. Burrow, ‘The Portrayal of Amans in ‘Confessio Amantis’’, Gower’s Confessio Amantis: Responses and Reassessments, ed. by A. J. Minnis (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1983), pp. 5-24 (p. 12 n. 7).

Jeremy Griffiths, 'Confessio Amantis: The Poem and its Pictures', in Gower’s Confessio Amantis: Responses and Reassessments, ed. by A. J. Minnis (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1983), pp. 163-78 (pp. 167-69, 177).

Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 6, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), II, p. 109.

Derek Pearsall, ‘The Manuscripts and Illustrations of Gower’s Works’, in A Companion to Gower, ed. by Sian Echard (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2004), pp. 73-97 (pp. 76, 79).


Images
* * *
 
Nebuchadnezzar

f. 5
Nebuchadnezzar
Nebuchadnezzar

f. 5
Nebuchadnezzar
Lover and Confessor

f. 18
Lover and Confessor
 
The Lover

f. 18
The Lover

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