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Detailed record for Harley 629

Author John Lydgate
Title Life of Our Lady
Origin England, S. E. (London?)
Date 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 15th century
Language English
Script Gothic cursive
Artists Master of the Eng. 1 manuscript
Decoration Full-page miniature (f. 1v). Large pink initial on a gold background with a full border of acanthus clusters in green, blue, and pink (f. 2). Partial borders with large initials on gold backgrounds (ff 4v, 5v). Large blue initials with red pen-flourishing at the beginning of each chapter. Small blue paraphs with red pen-flourishing and red paraphs with brown pen-flourishing. Chapter titles in red on the top of each page.
Dimensions in mm 290 x 205 (180 x 120)
Official foliation ff. 98 (+ 3 unfoliated flyleaves at the beginning and + 4 at the end; ff. iii, iv are medieval parchment flyleaves, ff. i, ii, v-vii are modern paper flyleaves)
Collation Mostly in quires of 8
Form Parchment Codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance Inscribed, 16th century: 'In the yere of our lorde god 1532 the 4 day of December was master Rysse behedded at the towre hyll in London and [...] Wylliam Hewsse byng hys servant was drawne throwe London to tyborne and there hangeth for tresson' (f. 97v).
James Griffith: inscribed, late 16th century (f. 98v).
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 Border decoration similar to Plate XVIII (Scott 2002), dated c. 1445/6, probably from London.
Attributed to the Master of the Eng. 1 manuscript (see Scott 1996).
Marginal rubrics throughout.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I (1808), no. 629.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Illustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 15.

Henry Noble McCracken, The Lydgate Canon. Appendix to the Philological Society's Transactions 1907-1909 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & co. for the Philological Society, 1908), pp. iii-xlvi (p. xvii).

A Critical Edition of John Lydgate’s Life of Our Lady, ed. Joseph A. Lauritis, Ralph A. Klinefelter, and Vernon F. Gallagher, Duquesne Studies Philological Series 2 (Pittsburgh: Dusquesne University Press, 1961), pp. 30-1.

Andrew G. Watson, The Library of Sir Simonds D'Ewes (London: British Museum, 1966), no. A293.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by C. E. Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: The Bibliographical Society, 1966), I, 1715-1723, p. xviii.

Kathleen Scott, ‘Caveat Lector: Ownership and Standardization in the Illustration of Fifteenth-Century English Manuscripts’, in English Manuscript Studies, 1 (London: British Library, 1989), 19-63 (p. 25, pl. 1).

Kathleen L. Scott, ‘Design, Decoration and Illustration’, in Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375-1475 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 31-64 (p. 56 n. 22, p. 57 ns 30, 33).

George R. Keiser, ‘Serving the needs of readers: textual division in some late-medieval English texts’, New Science out of Old Books, Studies in Manuscripts and Early Printed Books in Honour of A. I. Doyle, ed. by Richard Beadle and A. J. Piper (Aldershot: Scolar Press, c.1995), 207-226 (p. 217).

Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 6, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), II, 262.

Kathleen L. Scott, Dated and Datable English Manuscript Borders c. 1395-1499 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2002), pp. 64-5.

* * *
Nativity of the Virgin

ff. 1v-2
Nativity of the Virgin
Decorated  initial

f. 2
Decorated initial
Decorated initial

ff. 4v-5
Decorated initial

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