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Detailed record for Lansdowne 851

Author Geoffrey Chaucer
Title Canterbury Tales
Origin England, S. E. (London?)
Date c. 1410
Language English
Script Gothic cursive
Artists Attributed to Herman Scheerre
Decoration I full border in colours and gold with foliate decoration (f. 2). 26 three-sided borders in colours and gold (ff. 12, 39v, 48v, 53v, 54v, 66, 79, 83, 97, 102v, 107, 115, 128v, 141v, 153, 160, 169v, 173v, 181, 186, 189, 192, 207v, 218, 226v, 230v). 1 large historiated initial in colours and gold of the author (f. 2). Large initials in gold and blue and pink. Small initials in gold with purple penwork decoration, and in blue with red penwork decoration. Large initials in brown with brown and yellow or red penwork decoration, some with faces (e.g., ff. 14, 41v). Highlighting of letters in yellow. Decorated catchwords.
Dimensions in mm 340 x 210 (250 x 140)
Official foliation ff. 255 ( + 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Collation i-xxix8 (ff. 2-233), xxx7 (8-1, the seventh leaf missing) (ff. 234-240), xxxi8 (ff. 241-248), xxxii seven (ff. 249-255).
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance f. 1r-1v is a 18th-century description of the manuscript on parchment.
Phillip Carteret Webb (b. 1702, d. 1770), barrister and antiquary: see 1819 catalogue.
William Petty (formerly Fitzmaurice) (b. 1737, d. 1805), 2nd earl of Shelburne and 1st marquess of Lansdowne, prime minister: his book-plate with heraldic arms and the motto 'virtute non verbis' (inside upper cover); purchased by the British Museum together with 1244 other Lansdowne manuscripts in 1807.
Select bibliography [Henry Ellis and Francis Douce], A Catalogue of the Lansdowne Manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1819), no. 851.

Michael Seymour, 'Manuscript Portraits of Chaucer and Hocceleve', Burlington Magazine, 124 (1982), 618-23.

A. 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 n. 36, 277 n. 69).

Kathleen L. Scott, 'Design, Decoration and Illustration', in Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375-1475, ed. by Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 31-64 (p. 62 n. 85).

Charles A. Owen, The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer Studies, 17 (Cambridge: Brewer, 1991), 7-14, 43, 120-121 (as 'La').

Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 6, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), II, 87, 111, 141.

Chris Fletcher, Roger Evans, and Sally Brown, 1000 Years of English Literature: A Treasury of Literary Manuscripts (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003), pp. 30-31.

Maidie Hilmo, Medieval Images, Icons, and iIlustrated English Literary Texts: From the Ruthwell Cross to the Ellesmere Chaucer (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), p. 171 n. 4.
Last revised: 24 November 2006


Images
* * *
 
Author portrait

f. 2
Author portrait
Detail

f. 2
Detail
Detail

f. 2
Detail
 
Text page from the Miller's Tale.

f. 39
Text page from the Miller's Tale.
Illuminated initial

f. 39v
Illuminated initial
Detail

f. 39v
Detail
 
Illuminated initial

f. 48v
Illuminated initial
Detail of initial 'A'(t).

f. 48v
Detail of initial 'A'(t).
Foliate initial 'A'(nd).

f. 54v
Foliate initial 'A'(nd).
 
Illuminated initial 'O' with foliate border.

f. 66
Illuminated initial 'O' with foliate border.
Illuminated initial

f. 79
Illuminated initial
Detail

f. 79
Detail
 
Text page from the Merchant's Tale.

f. 129
Text page from the Merchant's Tale.
Illuminated initial 'T'(her) and decorated catchword.

f. 169v
Illuminated initial 'T'(her) and decorated catchword.

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