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Detailed record for Harley 4401

Author Gautier de Coincy
Title Les Miracles de Nostre Dame, imperfect
Origin France, N.
Date 3rd quarter of the 13th century
Language French
Script Gothic, written below top line
Decoration 53 puzzle initials in red and blue; 1 at the beginning of each prologue and miracle (ff. 1, 5v, 23v, 32v, 33v, 34, 34v, 35v, 36v, 37v, 42, 45v, 48, 49v, 52v, 53, 54, 55v, 57, 58, 59v, 61v, 62, 64, 65v, 66v, 68, 69v, 71v, 77, 79, 81, 83, 85, 88, 89, 92v, 98v, 104, 108, 140, 145, 146v, 151, 156, 159v, 162v, 165v, 168, 169v, 171v, 176, 179, 184, 187). Numerous smaller initials in red with blue penwork decoration, and blue with red penwork decoration. Rubrics in red.
Dimensions in mm 280 x 205 (210 x 145) in two columns
Official foliation ff. 189 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 2 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house; marbled endpapers; gilt edges.
Provenance 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 The 53 miracles are in verse, and are divided into 2 books. Each one is preceded by a Prologue and hymns to the Virgin with musical notation. The 12 hymns occur on ff. 3v, 4, 4v, 5, 5v, 106v, 107, 107v, 108.
The manuscript is imperfect; it breaks off with the text: 'Tex estoupes pres de tel feu' (f. 189v).
We thank Patricia Stirnemann for refining the localisation and dating of this manuscript.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 4401.

F.J. Furnivall, E. Brock, and W.A. Clouston, Originals and Analogues of some of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, 5 vols (London: Chaucer Society, 1872-88), Series II, V (1888), pp. 251-76.

H. L. D. Ward and J. A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), II, H. L. D. Ward (1893), pp. 717-27.

Augustus Hughes-Hughes, Catalogue of Manuscript Music in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1906-09), I (1906), p. 423.


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Puzzle initial

f. 5v
Puzzle initial

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