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Detailed record for Harley 2851

Part 1 ff. 1-30v, 32-187v 
Author Alan of Meaux
Title A collection of prose tales, church legends and religious and goliardic poems, including Alan of Meaux's 'Versus de Susanna' (ff. 2-9v), an abbreviated version of 'St Patrick’s Purgatory' (ff. 49v-58r), and 'Miracles of the Virgin' (ff. 71-89).
Origin England
Date 2nd half of the 13th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic, written below top ruled line
Decoration Large initial in gold with background filled with blue (f. 89v). Initials in red, gold or blue with pen-flourished decoration in red or blue. Initials mostly in red, but occasionally in blue. Rubrics in red. Paraphs in red or blue. Initials highlighted in red. Spaces for decorated initials left blank. Added marginal drawings in red of birds (ff. 14v, 119v, 131), flowers (ff. 15, 19), a fish (f. 56), a butterfly (f. 71), grotesque figures (ff. 84v, 101v, 143, 153v), animal heads (ff. 116), a dog (f. 157).
Dimensions in mm 105 x 75 (75/80 x 50/55)
Part 2 ff. 31r-v 
Title Added prayer and indulgences, fragment (f. 31v), preceded by a Crucifixion drawing (f. 31)
Origin England
Date 1st half of the 15th century
Language English
Script Gothic cursive (Secretary with Anglicana features)
Decoration Pen drawing of the Crucifixion (f. 31). Marginal pen drawing of the Five Wounds of Christ (?) (f. 31v).
Dimensions in mm 100 x 80 (70 x 50)
Official foliation ff. i + 187 (f. i is an early modern paper flyleaf; + 5 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end).
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1984.
Provenance Richard Jones (d. 1722), bookseller: bought from him for the Harley Collection (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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley, '15 die August, A.D. 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.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2851.

A Selection of Latin Stories from manuscripts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; a contribution to the history of fiction during the Middle Ages, ed. by Thomas Wright, Percy Society, Early English Poetry, 8 (London: Percy Society, 1842), pp. 24, 26, 27, etc (several texts transcribed).

Harry L. D. Ward and John A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), II: Harry L. D. Ward (1893), pp. 401-02, 669-71, 748; III: John A. Herbert (1910), pp. 503-09.

C. H. Talbot, ‘A List of Cistercian Manuscripts in Great Britain’, Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought and Religion, 8 (1952), 402-18 (p. 406).

Christopher J. Holdsworth, 'John of Ford and English Cistercian Writing 1167-1214', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th Series, 11 (1961), 117-36 (p. 130 n. 5).

Cyril E. Wright and Ruth C. Wright, The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 14 n. 10.

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. 207, 417.

Richard Sharpe, A Handlist of the Latin Writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540, Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin, 1 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1997), p. 33.

Julia Boffey and Anthony S. G. Edwards, A New Index of Middle English Verse (London: The British Library, 2005), no. 1703/8.


Part  2   ff. 31r-v
Added prayer and indulgences, fragment (f. 31v), preceded by a Crucifixion drawing (f. 31)
* * *

f. 31
Marginal drawing

f. 31v
Marginal drawing

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