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Detailed record for Harley 2280

Author Geoffrey Chaucer
Title Troilus and Criseyde
Origin England
Date 1st half of the 15th century
Language English
Script Gothic
Decoration 7 large initials in colours and gold with foliate pen-flourishing occasionally including ivy extending into the margins (ff. 1, 14, 14v, 35, 35v, 57, 77). Paraphs in alternating blue or red. Some ascenders are decorated in brown ink.
Dimensions in mm 235 x 160 (210 x 95)
Official foliation ff. 98 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves and 1 unfoliated parchment flyleaf at the beginning + 6 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Remains of 'Harleian' binding (gold-tooled red leather) pasted on the inside covers.
Provenance Added inscriptions in a post-medieval hand (f. 9).
Inscribed 'Mr. Beomonte in Aldersgate...' (f. 98v).
Inscribed, ?15th century, 'Iste liber ?donstat mr George [ending erased]' (f. 98v).
Inscribed, 16th century, 'John S.' (f. 98v).
Nicholas Brett, 17th century: inscribed with his name (f. 98v).
Francis Wadsworth, 17th century: inscribed 'Francis Wadsworth' and 'Francis Waddesworth' (ff. 40v, 74).
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. [iv]).
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 Catchwords.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2280.

H. L. D. Ward, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), I, 70-71.

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. 82, 87-88, 340.


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Decorated initial

f. 57
Decorated initial

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