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Detailed record for Harley 7399

Title A collection of French 'airs de cour'
Origin France
Date 1st half of the 17th century
Language French
Script Humanistic cursive
Decoration Initials with zoomorphic, anthropomorphic and grotesque features and interlace decoration in colours. Drawings of flowers, plants and farm animals in colours. Small initials with foliate decoration in colours.
Dimensions in mm 260 x 175 (200 x 70/80)
Official foliation ff. 63 (+ 4 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and 5 at the end)
Form Paper codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. 18th century; marbled endleaves.
Provenance Louis Roger, 17th century: his inscription (f. 1).
Nicolas Le Boeuf: his inscriptions (f. 1).
Pierre Villette, 17th century: his inscription (f. 1).
Mathuren Villette, 17th century: his inscription (f. 1).
Jacques Vilette, 17th century: his inscription dated 1664 (f. 62v).
Louis Villette, 17th century: his inscription (f. 1).
Robert Rougeolle, 17th century: his inscriptions (ff. 1, 62v) and list of previous owners (f. 63v).
Nathaniel Noel (fl. 1681, d. c. 1753), bookseller, employed by Edward Harley for buying books and manuscripts chiefly on the Continent, where his agent was George Suttie: sold to Edward Harley on 13th August 1724 (see Wright and Wright 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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley, '13 die Augusti, A.D. 1724' (f. 1).
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 ‘Airs de cour’ were 17th-century French songs in a variety of styles (e.g. love songs, drinking songs).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts, in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), III (1808), no. 7399.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril E. Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), II: 1723-1726, p. 304 n. 7.

Cyril E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 255, 474.

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Anthropomorphic initial

f. 4
Anthropomorphic initial

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