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Detailed record for Harley 56

Author Osbern
Title Life of Dunstan, ending imperfectly in chapter 16
Origin England
Date 1st quarter of the 12th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Decoration Large initial with penwork decoration in red, purple and green (f. 2v). Large initial in purple with penwork decoration (f. 2). Small initials in red or brown. Small marginal diagram in brown ink (f. 14v). Rubrics in red. Highlighting of initials in green or purple.
Dimensions in mm 265 x 175 (205 x 125)
Official foliation ff. 25 ( + 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and numerous at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1967; the former covers of brown leather pasted on the inside covers.
Provenance ? The Benedictine abbey of Mary, York: see Ker 1964.
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 ae caudatas.
f. 1 is a flyleaf with 12th-century text in two columns, with rubrics in red.
f. 26 is a parchment leaf with various inscriptions.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I, no. 56.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, ed. by N. R. Ker, 2nd edn, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 3 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 217.

Anne Lawrence, ‘English Cistercian manuscripts of the Twelfth Century’, Cistercian Art and Architecture in the British Isles, ed. by Christopher Norton and David Park (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 284-298 (p. 296, pl. 188).

Anne Lawrence, ‘The Artistic Influence of Durham Manuscripts’, in Anglo-Norman Durham 1093-1193, ed. by David Rollason, Margaret Harvey, and Michael Prestwich (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1994), pp.451-469 (pp. 466-67).

Anne Lawrence-Mathers, Manuscripts in Northumbria in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2003), pp. 68, 78, 121-3.

* * *

f. 1
Decorated initial

f. 2v
Decorated initial

f. 14v

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