You are in Introduction. Click here to skip the navigation.
British Library
Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
About Simple search Manuscript search Advanced search  Virtual exhibitions Glossaries Contact us  Main
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back

search tips  Search tips
 
 

 

 
 

Detailed record for Harley 621

Author Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by Laurent de Premierfait
Title Du Cas des Nobles Hommes et Femmes ( De casibus virorum et feminarum illustrium)
Origin France
Date 3rd quarter of the 15th century
Language French
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration 8 large tinted drawings with partial borders in colours and gold at the beginning of each book (ff. 36, 71, 120, 168, 217, 274, 315, 369v). 4 smaller tinted drawings at the beginning of each chapter (ff. 1v, 2v, 3v, 4). 4 underdrawings in ink at the beginning of chapters (6v, 7v, 9v, 11v). Partial border in colours and gold inhabited by a peacock and a jay (f. 318v). 8 large initials in colours and gold (ff. 36, 71, 120, 168, 217, 274, 315, 369v). Large initials in red and blue. Plain initials in red or blue. Rubrics in red. Paraphs in red or blue. Capitals marked in yellow. Spaces left for miniatures.
Dimensions in mm 395 x 275 (265 x 190) (in two columns)
Official foliation ff. 424 (+ 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning + 3 at the end)
Collation 18 - 538. f. 52 is misbound: cc. 409-416 should occur at the end.
Form Paper codex
Binding Post-1600. Blue leather with gold tooling and the Harley arms and motto; marbled endpapers.
Provenance Sir Simonds d'Ewes (b.1602, d. 1650), 1st baronet, diarist, antiquary, and friend of Sir Robert Cotton (see Wright 1972): purchased by him for 3 s. (see Watson 1966).
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. The manuscript bears the shelfmark H.B. 10 (f. 1).
Notes The manuscript is incomplete; numerous spaces have been left for miniatures, and some pictures are unfinished. As noted in the Harley catalogue: ' Twas design'd to adorn this Book with a Picture before each Chapter: but there are but few (in Comparison) done. However, that of the Author, and of Francis Petrarch at the beginning of the VIII book, may be worth looking upon' (III, no. 621).
Watermark, 'Armoiries trois fleurs-de-lis', similar to C. M. Briquet, Les Filigranes: Dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur apparition vers 1282 jusqu'en 1600, A Facsimile of the 1907 edition with supplementary material, ed. by Allan Stevenson, 4 vols (Amsterdam: Paper Publications Society, 1968), no. 392 (used in Grammont 1463) and no. 1741 (used in Troyes 1470).
For the library of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, a large part of which was purchased by Harley, see Andrew George Watson, The Library of Sir Simonds D'Ewes (London: British Library, 1966).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I (1808), no. 621.

Lydgate's Fall of Princes, ed. by Henry Bergen, 3 vols, Early English Text Society, 121-123 (London: Early English Text Society, 1924), I, p. xiii.

Fritz Saxl and Hans Meier, Verzeichnis astrologischer und mythologischer illustrierter Handschriften des lateinischen Mittelalters, ed. by Harry Bober, 4 vols (London: Warburg Institute, 1916-66), III: Handschriften in englischen Bibliotheken (1953), p. 147.

Patricia M. Gathercole, 'The Manuscripts of Laurent de Premierfait's 'Du Cas des Nobles' (Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium'), Italica, 32 (1955), 14-21 (p. 19).

Andrew G. Watson, The Library of Sir Simonds D'Ewes (London: British Museum, 1966), no. A312.

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. 131.

Giovanni Boccaccio: Catalogue of an Exhibition held in the Reference Division of the British Library 3 October to 31 December 1975 (London: British Museum Publications, 1975), no. 32 [exhibition catalogue].

Yoshiaki Todoroki, 'A List of Miniatures of Goddess Fortune in Medieval Manuscripts', Cultural and Social Sciences 41 (1990), 71-114 (p. 89).

Catherine Reynolds, 'Illustrated Boccaccio Manuscripts in the British Library (London), ' Studi sul Boccaccio 17 (1988), 113-181 (pp. 137-141).

Boccaccio visualizzato: Narrare per parole e per immagini fra Medioevo e Rinascimento, ed. by Vittore Branca, Biblioteca di Storia dell'arte, 30, 3 vols (Torino: Giulio Einaudi, 1999), III: Opere d'arte d'origine francese, fiamminga, inglese, spagnola, tedesca, pp. 175-77, no. 66 [by Catherine Reynolds].


Images
* * *
 
Tinted drawing

f. 1v
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 4
Tinted drawing


f. 7v
 
Tinted drawing

f. 36
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 71
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 120
Tinted drawing
 
Tinted drawing

f. 168
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 217
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 217
Tinted drawing
 
Page of text

f. 219
Page of text
Tinted drawing

f. 274
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 315
Tinted drawing
 
Tinted drawing

f. 315
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 315
Tinted drawing
Tinted drawing

f. 369v
Tinted drawing
 
Tinted drawing

f. 369v
Tinted drawing

print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
top Back