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Detailed record for Harley 979

Author Various authors including Hugh of Saint-Victor , Robert Grosseteste, Innocent III and Gregory the Great
Title Theological miscellany including Isagoge
Origin England
Date 2nd half of the 13th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic, written below top line
Decoration Large puzzle initials in red and blue with pen-flourishing in both colours. Some large and numerous small initials in red or blue, frequently with pen-flourishing in the other colour. Simple initials in red or blue. Added (?) penwork drawings, one including elaborate interlace motifs, in black ink (f. 1*v).
Dimensions in mm 195 x 155 (150-160 x 105-110), ff. 1-39, 74, 81-82 in two columns
Official foliation ff. 1*, 2* + 83 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end; f. [iv] is conjoined with f. 1*; ff. 1*, 2* and 83 are medieval parchment flyleaves)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1968
Provenance The Benedictine abbey of St Mary, Reading, Berkshire, 13th century: ownership inscriptions (ff. 1*v, 83).
Added table of contents in a near contemporary hand (f. 2*).
Deposited at the Augustinian abbey of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, in exchange for a Cirencester copy of the 'Laus sapiencie': inscribed, 13th century 'libellus iste tempore ?Aluredi prioris fuit apud Cyrencest(...) memoriale pro libello Alexandri Nequam qui dicitur laus sapiencie Quem revocari ?fecit/fuit pag(...)' (f. 1*v), (see Coates 1999, p. 115).
Edward Stillingfleet (b. 1635, d. 1699), bishop of Worcester and theologian; his manuscript no. 157 (see Coates 1999, p. 159).
Edward Stillingfleet (b. 1661, d. 1708), physician and Church of England clergyman, son of the former; in 1707 acquired by Robert Harley (see 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 Crossed tironian ets.
Contemporary parchment repairs.
The dimensions of the writing frame differ on ff. 74-82v.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I, no. 979.

Walter De Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Ilustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 6.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, ed. by Neil R. Ker, 2nd edn, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 3 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 156.

C. E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 265, 283, 316.

Alan Coates, English Medieval Books: The Reading Abbey Collections from Foundation to Dispersal (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999), pp. 97, 115, no. 77.

James McEvoy, 'The Edition of a Sermon on the Decalogue attributed to Robert Grosseteste', in Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales 68 (2001), pp. 228-224.

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Puzzle initials

f. 1
Puzzle initials

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