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Detailed record for Harley 2342

Title Lady Jane Grey's Prayer book
Origin England, S. (London)
Date 2nd quarter of the 16th century, after 1539
Language English
Script Gothic
Decoration Large decorated initials in colours and gold (ff. 1, 5, 9, 15, 15v, 48v, 62, 74v, 77v, 101, 106, 109v, 136v). Smaller initials in in colours and gold (mostly gold on a red, blue or pink ground). Lines fillers in colours and gold. Capitals marked in yellow.
Dimensions in mm 85 x 70 (70 x 50)
Official foliation ff. 142 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves and 2 unfoliated parchment leaves at the beginning + 2 unfoliated parchment leaves and 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Dark blue leather; gilt edges.
Provenance Added prayers, 16th century (ff. 137-142).
Lady Jane Grey (also known as Lady Jane Dudley) (b. 1537, d. 1554), daughter of Henry Grey, duke of Suffolk, wife of Lord Guilford Dudley, proclaimed queen in 1553: given by her to Sir John Bridges, the Lieutenant of the Tower, moments before her execution on 12 February 1554. Marginal notes in her hand including some addressed to her father the duke of Suffolk (see f. 79), also notes in the hand of her husband.
Robert Burscough (b. 1650/51, d.1709), prebendary of Exeter in 1701, archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1703, rector of Cheriton Bishop in 1705: sold by his widow on 17 May 1715 to Robert Harley, along with other manuscripts (see Wright 1972, 87-88; Diary 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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley ‘17 Maij 1715’ (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 Contains prayers extracted from Richard Taverner's translation from the Latin of Wolfgang's Capito's Precationes Christianae ad imitationem psalmorum compositae, printed as An epitome of the Psalmes, or briefe meditacons upon the same, with diverse other moste Christian prayers, translated by Richard Taverner (London 1539).
Note that Mueller 2011 indentifies this manuscript as written by Queen Katherine Parr and her own prayerbook, left unfinished at her death in 1548; but see Carley 2011, who argues convincingly that the manuscript was written by a professional scribe.
f. 142v is blank.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2342.

John Gough Nichols, Autographs of Royal, Noble, Learned, and Remarkable Personages Conspicuous in English History, from the Reign of Richard II to that of Charles II, with some Illustrious Foreigners.., (London, 1829), pl. 19 (facsimile reproduction of the first and last note).

The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary, and especially of the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyat, ed. by John Gough Nichols, (London: Camden Society, 1850), pp. 57-58, (p. 57, footnote d, for a transcript of the three inscriptions by Lady Jane and Lord Guilford Dudley).

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 11 n. 6.

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. 87-88, 172.

Treasures of the British Library, ed. by Nicolas Barker and others (London: British Library, 2005), p. 54.

Philip Howard, The British Library: A Treasure House of Knowledge (London: Scala Publishers, 2008), no. 50.

Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence, ed. By Janel Mueller (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), pp. 5, 18, 33, 489-552, fig. 2 [an edition of the manuscript].

James P. Carley, review of Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence, ed. by Janel Mueller (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), Times Literary Supplement (June 3 2011), pp. 3-5.


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