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Detailed record for Harley 5777

Title Four Gospels, imperfect, followed by tables of lessons for the ecclesiastical year, imperfect at the end (ff. 214-228)
Origin Eastern Mediterranean
Date 15th century
Language Greek
Script Greek minuscule
Decoration 5 tailpieces with geometric and foliate decoration, occasionally with zoomorphic features, in brown, red and/or blue (ff. 58v, 59v, 99v, 166, 214). Large initial with foliate decoration in red and blue (f. 60). Titles in display capitals in red (ff. 99v, 166). Initials, titles, colophons and rubrics in red. Marginal decorations with geometric or interlace patterns in red and/or black (ff. 214v-216v, 220v).
Dimensions in mm 225 x 150 (155 x 100)
Official foliation ff. 1* + 228 (f. 1* is an original flyleaf, f. 228 a fragment; + 2 unfoliated modern parchment leaves attached to two original fragments after f. 1*, and 2 modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and the end)
Collation Gatherings mainly of 8, with quire signature in the lower margin of the last versos.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1964.
Provenance Traces of a dated colophon (f. 228).
Georgios Anagnostes : his note (f. 215; see Summary Catalogue 1999).
Erased inscription in Greek (f. 166v; see Summary Catalogue 1999).
John Covel (b. 1638, d. 1722), chaplain of the Levant Company in Constantinople, 1670-1676, and later Master of Christ's College, Cambridge: owned in Constantinople in 1677, his notes (ff. 1* verso, 1); his Greek manuscript XXIV (f. 1); sold, together with Covel's other manuscripts, to Edward Harley for £300 on 27 Feb. 1715/6 (Diary 1966; 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 The leaves with decorated openings at the beginning of the Gospels have been excised leaving the texts imperfect, with the exception of the opening of Mark, on which only the decorated headpiece has been removed (f. 60).
Each Gospel is preceded by a table of contents.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 5777.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril E. Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, pp. xxxiv-xxxvi; II: 1723-1726, p. 211 n. 1.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 113-17, 462.

Summary Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts (London: British Library, 1999- ), I, p. 189 [with further bibliography].

* * *
Decorated tailpiece

f. 166
Decorated tailpiece

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