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Detailed record for Harley 549

Author Boethius
Title De institutione arithmetica
Origin France, N. or England
Date 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 12th century
2nd or 3rd quarter of the 12th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Decoration 1 table framed by 4 fish, a circle, and 3 dogs chasing a hare, with red, blue, black, gold and green on a blue and light-brown ground (f. 14). 2 zoomorphic initials, outlined in black, with some gold, red, blue and green on a light-brown ground (ff. 1v, 21). Other tables and diagrams in red, green, blue and light brown, one with animal heads (f. 24), occasionally with some penwork decoration. Numerous initials in red or blue, occasionally with a reserved line and penwork decoration in the same or, rarely, in the other colour. Rubrics and letters following the zoomorphic initial (f. 1v) in red.
Dimensions in mm 205 x 130 (140 x 70/80)
Official foliation ff. 60 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 3 at the end; f. 60 is a fragment)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance Added religious poem, late 12th century (ff. 58-58v).
Inscribed, ?13th century, library class-mark (?) '.o.xiii.' (f. 1v).
Added full-page drawing of a man and a woman in a boat, ?13th century (f. 1).
Rogerus Bedford, 15th century: inscribed with his name (f. 57).
Inscribed, 15th century 'constat Johann(...)' (f. 58v).
Added notes in English, rough sketches and diagrams by different ?15th/16th-century hands (ff. 1, 46v, 58v-59v).
John Dee (b. 1527, d. 1609), mathematician, astrologer, and antiquary: his marks (ff. 1, 2); acquired in 1626 by Sir Simonds D'Ewes (see Watson 1962, 1966).
Sir Simonds d'Ewes (b.1602, d. 1650), 1st baronet, diarist, antiquary, and friend of Sir Robert Cotton (see Wright 1972).
Sir Simonds D’Ewes (d. 1722), 3rd baronet and grandson of the former: inherited and later sold the D’Ewes library to Robert Harley on 4 October 1705 for £450 (see Watson 1966).
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 1-8); quire signature (in the centre of the lower margin of the recto of the first leaf of the last quire (9), f. 55)
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I (1808), no. 549.

Andrew G. Watson, 'Sir Robert Cotton and Sir Simonds D'Ewes: an exchange of manuscripts' in: The British Museum Quarterly 25 (1962), 19-24 (p. 21).

Andrew G. Watson, The Library of Sir Simonds D'Ewes (London: British Museum, 1966), no. A894.

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. 69, 126, 131.

Codices Boethiani : A Conspectus of Manuscripts of the Works of Boethius ed. by M. T. Gibson and Lesley Smith, Warburg Institute Surveys and Texts 25 (London: Warburg Institute, 1995- ), I: Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, no. 110, pp. 134-35.


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