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Detailed record for Royal 18 C XXII

Author John Gower
Title Confessio amantis
Origin England
Date 1st quarter of the 15th century
Language English and Latin
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration 1 historiated initial of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, in colours and gold, in the prologue (f. 4v). 1 historiated initial of the Lover's confession, in colours and gold, with a full border, at the beginning of the prologue (f. 1). 7 large initials in colours and gold with partial borders (ff. 29, 51, 68v, 91, 138, 152v, 186v). Initials in gold on blue and rose grounds with penwork decoration in white. Small initials in blue with red pen-flourishing.
Dimensions in mm 365 x 230 (270 x 170)
Official foliation ff. 206 (+ 1 unfoliated medieval parchment flyleaf attached to a modern paper flyleaf at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Royal library binding of brown leather.
Provenance Margaret Strange, probably to be identified with Margaret, daughter of Henry Clifford, 2nd earl of Cumberland, and from 1555 wife of Henry Stanley (b. 1531, d. 1593), Lord Strange and 4th earl of Derby: offset of the printed ex-libris reading 'This boke appertayneth unto the Right Honorable the Ladie Margaret Strange' on one of two flyleaves excised from the end of the last quire (see Warner and Gilson 1921).
The Old Royal Library (the English Royal library): included in the catalogue of 1666, Royal Appendix 71, f. 12.
Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.
Notes This manuscript contains the first recension of the Confessio amantis of John Gower (b. 1330, d. 1408), originally dedicated to Richard II: 'In ovre englisshe I thenke make/ a book for kyng Richardis sake' (f. 1), with the reference to Henry of Lancaster, earl of Derby in the explicit: 'Explicit iste liber qui t[ra]nseat obsecro liber / ut sine livore vigeat lectoris in ore/ Qui sedet in sta[n]nis celi dat ut ista Joh[ann]is / p[er]petuus annus stet pagin g[ra]t[i]a britan[n]is / derbie comiti[s] recol[u]nt qu[em] laude p[ar]iti/ Valde liber pur[us] iubeo req[ue]ste futurus / Epistola sup[er] hui[us] op[er]is vel opusculi sui / complementu[m] Joh[ann]i Gower a quoda[m] philo/sopho transmissa' (f. 205v).
One of 13 manuscripts containing an image of the Lover's Confession.
Catchwords.
Select bibliography The English Works of John Gower, ed. by G. C. Macaulay, 2 vols (London: Early English Text Society, 1900-1901), I, Confessio Amantis, Prol.-Lib. V. 1970, Early English Text Society, Extra Series, 81, pp. cxlvii-cxlix.

George F. Warner and Julius P. Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King’s Collections, 4 vols (London: British Museum, 1921), II, p. 306.

Charles Kuhn, 'Herman Scheerre and English Illumination of the Early Fifteenth Century', The Art Bulletin, 22 (1940), 138-57 (p. 155).

J. A. Burrow, ‘The Portrayal of Amans in ‘Confessio Amantis’’, Gower’s Confessio Amantis: Responses and Reassessments, ed. by A. J. Minnis (Cambridge: Brewer, 1983), pp. 5-24 (p. 12 n. 7).

Jeremy Griffiths, 'Confessio Amantis: The Poem and its Pictures', in Gower’s Confessio Amantis: Responses and Reassessments, ed. by A. J. Minnis (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1983), pp. 163-78 (pp. 166-67).

Hilton Kelliher and Sally Brown, English Literary Manuscripts (London: British Library, 1986), pl. 6.

Thomas J. Garbáty, 'A Description of the Confession Miniatures for Gower's Confessio Amantis with Special Reference to the Illustrator's Role as Reader and Critic', Mediaevalia: A Journal of Medieval Studies, 19 (1996), 319-43 (pp. 328, 343).

Derek Pearsall, 'The Manuscripts and Illustrations of Gower's Works', in A Companion to Gower, ed. by Siân Echard (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2004), pp. 73-97 (pp. 74, 81, 90).

Jane Roberts, Guide to Scripts used in English Writings up to 1500 (London: British Library, 2005), p. 204.


Images
* * *
 
Lover's confession

f. 1
Lover's confession
Lover's confession

f. 1
Lover's confession
Illuminated initial

f. 29
Illuminated initial
 
Text page

f. 66
Text page
Illuminated initial

f. 91
Illuminated initial

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