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 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
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Detailed record for Harley 4903

Title Continuations of the Roman des sept sages: Helcanus (ff. 1-16, end of text), Peliarmenus (ff. 16-134v) and Kanor (ff. 135-231v)
Origin France, Central (Paris)
Date 2nd quarter of the 14th century
Language French
Script Gothic
Artists Attributed to Jeanne de Montbaston (Rouse and Rouse 2000)
Decoration Large miniatures in gold and colours, across 2 columns at the beginning of the main sections (ff. 1, 5v, 16, 40v, 59, 67v, 69, 75, 79, 94, 102, 106, 116, 123, 126, 135, 146, 186v, 190, 204v, 222v). Unfinished large miniature with the composition drawn in ink and the underlying coat of gesso applied on areas which were to be covered in gold leaf (f. 180v). Smaller miniatures in gold and colours across 1 column at the beginning of lesser sections (ff. 12, 13, 18v, 21, 25v, 29v, 34v, 37v, 44v, 46, 49v, 52v, 59v, 64v, 66v, 71v, 77, 82v, 83v, etc.). 2 historiated initials (f. 66v: head of a youth, f. 75: head of a lady). The miniatures are followed by large initials in gold and colours with ivy leaves, sometimes including a dragon head (e. g. ff. 59, 67v), or accompanied by a foliate bar border ending in an animal head (f. 1 only). Large puzzle initials in red and blue with pen-flourishing in the same colours (ff. 32v, 134, 136, 158v, 201, 218, 226). Numerous initials in red or blue with pen-flourishing in the other colour. A few capitals decorated with faces drawn in brown and red ink (f. 198v).
Dimensions in mm 395 x 300 (325 x 245), in 3 columns
Official foliation ff. 231 (+ 1 unfoliated paper flyleaf at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Armorial red leather binding of Louis Henri de Loménie. Gilt edges.
Provenance Unidentified arms in the outer margin, ?14th century (f. 16; trimmed).
Louis Henri de Loménie (b. 1635, d. 1698), comte de Brienne: his armorial binding (a catalogue of his books dated 1656 features in Harley 4455, ff. 185-238).
The Loménie de Brienne family: a collection of manuscripts was sold by the son of Louis Henri de Loménie (d. 1698) by James Woodman in 1724 to Edward Harley (see 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.
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.
The first volume of this text is now Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Fr. 17000 (the original quire marks are continuous in the two manuscripts and all other features are identical).
These romances are sequels to the Roman des sept sages de Rome.
A rough sketch of the scene depicted in the large miniature often appears in the lower margin as a guide to the miniaturist (e.g. ff. 75, 79, 116), this was also done for small scenes and is combined with written instructions (e.g. f. 105). Most of these preliminary drawings have subsequently been erased. Count of miniatures or 'histoires' (noted in the lower margin of f. 197).
Quire marks. Leaf signatures. Catchwords written horizontally.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 4903.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Ilustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 9.

D. J. A. Ross, 'Methods of Book-Production in a XIVth Century French Miscellany (London, B. M., ms Royal 19. D. I.)', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des études relatives aux manuscrits, 6 (1952), 63-75 (pp. 71-75).

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 225.

Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, Manuscripts and Their Makers: Commercial Book Producers in Medieval Paris 1200-1500, 2 vols (Turnhout: Harvey Miller, 2000), I, p. 391 n. 105; II, appendix 9A.

Meradith Tilbury McMunn, 'Le roman de Kanor: édition critique d'un texte en prose du XIIIe siècle', (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 1978), pp. xlvi-xlviii (ms. X2).

Laurent Brun, 'London, British Library Harley ms. 4903', Arlima: Archives de littérature du Moyen-Âge (2007) [http://www.arlima.net/mss/united_kingdom/london/british_library/harley/04903.html] [accessed 05 November 2007].

La légende du roi Arthur, ed. by Thierry Delcourt (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 2009), p. 216.

Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, 'French Literature and the Counts of Saint-Pol ca. 1178-1377', Viator, 41/1 (2010), 101-140 (pp. 112, 113, n. 42).


Images
* * *
 
Dyalogus

f. 16
Dyalogus
Emperor, lion and hermit

f. 93
Emperor, lion and hermit
Emperor Cassiodorus

f. 98v
Emperor Cassiodorus
 
Cassiodorus and the empress

f. 108
Cassiodorus and the empress
Lion

f. 135
Lion
Lion

f. 135
Lion
 
Celydus and Dyanor

f. 137v
Celydus and Dyanor
Two groups of men

f. 146
Two groups of men
Empress and Duchess

f. 153v
Empress and Duchess
 
Cassiodorus' children and the lion

f. 156v
Cassiodorus' children and the lion
Cassiodorus' sons

f. 162
Cassiodorus' sons
Messengers before Celidus

f. 164
Messengers before Celidus
 
La Meschine

f. 169
La Meschine
Children being switched at birth

f. 171
Children being switched at birth
Empress of Constantinople

f. 174
Empress of Constantinople
 
Japhus, Josias and Mardocheus

f. 180v
Japhus, Josias and Mardocheus
Josias of Spain

f. 186v
Josias of Spain
Mardocheus

f. 190
Mardocheus
 
Maidens putting Japhus in prison

f. 198
Maidens putting Japhus in prison
Chatelaine and a maiden

f. 203
Chatelaine and a maiden
King of Hungary

f. 204v
King of Hungary
 
Banquet

f. 208v
Banquet
Rainfort marrying Cassidore

f. 212
Rainfort marrying Cassidore
King of Hungary

f. 214
King of Hungary
 
Empress of Constantinople

f. 222v
Empress of Constantinople

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