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Detailed record for Harley 1758

Author Geoffrey Chaucer
Title The Canterbury Tales, including the spurious Tale of Gamelyn (ff. 46-55), imperfect
Origin England
Date 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 15th century
Language English
Script Gothic
Scribe Possibly written by 3 professional scribes and corrected by a supervisor
Decoration 22 bar borders and puzzle initials with foliate and spray decoration in colours and gold. Initials in gold against grounds of blue and red with white tracery and spray decoration. Initials in blue or red with penwork decoration in red or blue. Running titles in black. Rubrics and marginal notes in red. Spaces for miniatures left blank before prologues.
Dimensions in mm 340 x 235 (250 x 125)
Official foliation ff. 1* + 232 (f. 1* is an original parchment flyleaf pasted onto the verso of a modern paper leaf; f. 232 is the fragment of an original parchment upper flyleaf; + 2 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and 3 at the end).
Collation Gatherings mostly of 8, with horizontal catchword in the lower margin of the last verso of each gathering and traces of quire signature in the lower right corner of the rectos in the first half of the gatherings (see ff. 46-47). Missing a number of leaves.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. 19th century; marbled endleaves.
Provenance Edmund Foxe of Ludford, county Salop, Shropshire: his inscription (f. 232; see Wright 1972).
Edward Foxe, son of Edmund Foxe: his inscriptions (ff. 1*, 231r-v, 232), including records of his marriage to Jane Oteley in 1561 and the births of their children from 1567 to 1595 (ff. 126v-127), and a poem (f. 204).
The inscription 'Corpus Christi 1679' (f. 200).
Francis Atterbury (b. 1663, d. 1732), bishop of Rochester, politician, and Jacobite conspirator: his inscription (f. 1*); presented by him to Robert Harley when dean of Christh Church, Oxford, i.e. sometime between September 1711 and July 1713, as recorded by Harley's librarian, Humfrey Wanley in his catalogue (see A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts 1808; 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 Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts.
The Prologue of the Cook's Tale is imperfect due to the loss of one leaf as well as an entire gathering after f. 45. As in all the manuscripts belonging to the same family in the tradition of the text ('d' family), the Tale of Gamelyn is copied as the conclusion of the Cook's Tale (ff. 46-55): see Owen 1991 p. 42.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 1758.

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), I: Harry L. D. Ward (1883), p. 513.

The Text of the Canterbury Tales: Studied on the basis of all known manuscripts, by John M. Manly and Edith Rickert, 8 vols (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940), I, pp. 199-200.

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. 55, 156-57, 401.

Anthony Ian Doyle and Malcolm B. Parkes, 'The Production of Copies of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis in the Early Fifteenth Century', in Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker, ed. by Malcolm B. Parkes and Andrew G. Watson (London: Scolar Press, 1978), pp. 163-210 (p. 191 n. 61).

Anthony S. G. Edwards and Derek Pearsall, 'The Manuscripts of the Major English Poetic Texts', in Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375-1475, ed. by Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 257-78 (pp. 274-75 n. 40).

Charles A. Owen, The Manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales', Chaucer studies, 17 (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1991), pp. 38, 42, 58-60, 72, 81, 104, 112, 121.

Derek Pearsall, ‘The Manuscripts and Illustrations of Gower’s Works’, in A Companion to Gower, ed. by Sian Echard (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2004), pp. 73-97 (pp. 81).


Images
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Decorated bar border and initial

f. 1
Decorated bar border and initial
Decorated border and initial

f. 41
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f. 45v
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Decorated border and initial

f. 56v
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f. 68
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f. 76
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Decorated initials

f. 87
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f. 97v
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f. 102
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f. 107
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f. 114v
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Decorated initial

f. 127
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Decorated border and initial

f. 138v
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f. 145
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f. 151
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Decorated border and initial

f. 158v
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f. 163v
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f. 166v
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Decorated border and initial

f. 193
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f. 200
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f. 201v
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Decorated border and initial

f. 205
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Decorated border and initial

f. 212v
Decorated border and initial
Original flyleaf

f. 232
Original flyleaf
 

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