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Detailed record for Harley 3915

Author Theophilus and other authors
Title De diversis artibus and other texts including De Unguentis, recipes and extracts from the Liber de Coloribus and the Mappae Clavicula
Origin Germany, N. W. or France
Date 2nd half of the 12th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Decoration Large and smaller initials in red, occasionally with some penwork decoration, three including an animal head (ff. 18v, 33v, 79v). Drawing in crayon of an ornament (f. 9v).
Dimensions in mm 150 x 110 (110 x 70)
Official foliation ff. 150 (+ 7 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1966. Remains of Harleian binding (gold-tooled red leather, gold-tooled brown leather title plate) pasted inside covers and on f. [iv]; traces of turn-ins of a previous binding on ff. 1, 150.
Provenance Probably produced in Northwest Germany (see Theophilus 1986, p. xxxv).
Added shorter texts (mainly recipes) and notes (on ff. 146, 150 in German), in several later 13th-15th-century hands (ff. 1v, 142v-144v, 145v-148, 150): for a detailed account see Kritisches Verzeichnis 1973, pp. 99-103.
Added, 15th century, 'clij folia' (f. 2).
Nicholas of Cues (b. 1401, d. 1464), purchased on or shortly after 19 September 1444 in Nürnberg: inscribed 'Emi ego N. hunc librum nuremberge 1444, in die sancti lamberti in dieta inter dominum Eugenium papam et antipapam felicem' (f. 149), (see Acta Cusana, nos. 595-596).
George Suttie, agent of Nathaniel Noel (fl. 1681, d. c. 1753), bookseller, employed by Edward Harley for buying books and manuscripts chiefly on the Continent; acquired through him for the Harley Collection (for the details of the acquisition see 'Kirtisches Verzeichnis' 17 (1986), 21-56 and 10 (1973), 99).
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 quires 1-13); ampersands.
One leaf missing between ff. 102-103, another between ff. 110-111, and another between ff. 149-150.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), III (1808) , no. 3915.

Dorothea Waley Singer, Annie Anderson, and Robina Addis, Catalogue of Latin and Vernacular Alchemical Manuscripts in Great Britain and Ireland Dating from before the XVI Century, 3 vols (Brussels: Lamertin, 1928-1931), II, p. 596, III, p. 1043.

J. S. Gardner and Elizabeth Eames, 'A Tile Kiln at Chertsey Abbey', The Journal of the British Archaeological Association 17 (1954), 24-42 (pp. 28, 42).

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. xxxix-xl.

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. 120, 254.

'Kritisches Verzeichnis der Londoner Handschriften aus dem Besitz des Nikolaus von Kues', Mitteilungen und Forschungsbeiträge der Cusanus-Gesellschaft 3 (1963), 16-100; 5 (1965), 137-61; 8 (1970), 199-237; 10 (1973), 58-103 (pp. 99-103); 12 (1977), 15-71; 15 (1982), 43-56; 17 (1986), 21-56 (p. 43).

Acta Cusana: Quellen zur Lebensgeschichte des Nikolaus von Kues ed. by Erich Meuthen and Hermann Hallauer (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1976-), I.2 (1983), pp. 469 (no. 595), 170.

Anna Di Majo, Carlo Federici and Marco Palma, 'La Pergamena dei Codici Altomedievali Italiani: Indagine sulle Specie Animali Utilizzate', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des études relatives aux manuscrits 39 (1985), 3-12 (p. 5 n. 12).

Theophilus: 'The Various Arts' De Diversis Artibus, ed. and tr. by C. R. Dodwell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), Siglum H, esp. pp. l-li, lii n. 1, lxiii-lxv, lvii and lxxi-lxxiii.

* * *
Crayon drawing

f. 9v
Crayon drawing

f. 19

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