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Detailed record for Egerton 617

Title Bible, in the early Wycliffite version; Proverbs to Maccabees
Origin England, S. (London)
Date last quarter of the 14th century or 1st quarter of the 15th century
Language English
Script Gothic
Decoration 23 full borders and large initials with foliate decoration in red and or pink, white, and blue on gold grounds, with knots and buds in red and green, at the beginning of most books (ff. 2, 14, 18, 20v, 29, 54, 81, 116v, 151v, 164v, 169, 170v, 174, 175, 176, 179, 180v, 182, 184, 185, 190v, 192, and 210v), some with faces or hybrid creatures (ff. 14, 29, 54, 104v, 151v, etc.). Small initials in gold on red blue grounds with foliate decoration, including gold, red, or blue leaves. Heraldic decoration in the upper border, and excised in the lower (f. 2). A few paraphs in blue with red penwork decoration. Catchwords sometimes decorated with brown penwork, including heads (e.g. ff. 101v, 109v, 133v). Running headers in red.
Dimensions in mm 440 x 290 (310 x 190 (in two columns)
Official foliation ff. 224 (+ 2 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end); old foliation [2]-223
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Brown leather with gold tooling; rebacked
Provenance This manuscript and Egerton 618 apparently together once formed a two-volume Bible.
? Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (b. 1355, d. 1397), the youngest son of Edward III and husband of Eleanor de Bohun: probably his arms (f. 2, upper border); probably corresponding to an entry in his inventory of 'Item un bible en Engleys en ij grantz livres couerez de rouge guyr, pris xls'; see Additional 25459, f. 124v; printed in Fristedt 1964; or his nephew, Humfrey or Humphrey of Lancaster (b. 1390, d. 1447), duke of Gloucester (called Good Duke Humphrey), prince, soldier, and literary patron: see discussion of the heraldic evidence in Sandler 1986 II p. 165.
Excised coat of arms ? (f. 2); perhaps that of Eleanor de Bohun (see Sandler 1986).
Dr. John Hunter: inscribed 'This Ms. was once in the Collection of Doctor John Hunter' (f. 1v).
Dr. John Fell (d. 1797); his sale, purchased by Clarke: see Facsimiles of Biblical Manuscripts in the British Museum 1900.
Adam Clarke (b. 1762, d. 1832), Wesleyan Methodist minister and scholar: his catalogue no. 22 (see Notes).
Bought on 1 February, 1837 from Straker by the British Museum, using the Bridgewater fund (£12,000 bequeathed in 1829 by Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater (b. 1756, d. 1829): inscription (f. [ii]). .
Notes The continuation of this Bible is Egerton 618.
f. 1 recto is a parchment fragment of an index and f. 1 verso is a paper table of contents and notes, both mounted on a larger parchment leaf.
Spaces left for several prologues.
According to Sandler, the same border artist was responsible for Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland MS Adv. 18.6.5.
After his death, Adam Clarke's library passed to his son, Rev. J. B. B. Clarke. He auctioned the printed books at Evans's on 18 February, 1833, and published a detailed catalogue of the manuscripts in 1835. According to Frederic Madden's annotations in the Department of Manuscripts copies of the catalogues, the manuscripts were bought by the booksellers Baynes & Straker (or Baynes & Son), who first issued a catalogue with fixed prices in 1836, and then offered them for sale by auction at Sotheby’s on 20 June, 1836. Almost all the lots were bought in, and re-offered at Sotheby’s on 21 May, 1838, but the auction was stopped at lot 5 'in consequence of no bidders appearing'. A selection of manuscripts were then purchased privately by the British Museum for £126 19s. 6d. (Egerton 628-709), and a further 17 lots were purchased subsequently for £2 9s. 6d. (Egerton 710-730).
Select bibliography List of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1836-1840 (London: British Museum, 1843), 1837, p. 55.

The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal Books, in the Earliest English versions made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and his Followers, ed. by Josiah Forshall and Frederic Madden, 4 vols (Oxford: University Press, 1850), I, p. xliii, no. 32 (as 'G').

E. M. Thompson, Wycliffe Exhibition in the King’s Library (London: Clowes and Sons, 1884), no. 28.

Facsimiles of Biblical Manuscripts in the British Museum, ed. by Frederic G. Kenyon (London: British Museum, 1900), no. XXIV.

British Museum Bible Exhibition 1911: Guide to the Manuscripts and Printed Books exhibited in Celebration of the Tercentenary of the Authorized Version (London: British Museum, 1911), no. 24.

J. A. Herbert, Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Methuen, 1911), p. 231.

Schools of Illumination: Reproductions from Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (London: British Museum, 1914-1930), IV: English A.D. 1350 to 1400 (1922), pl. 2.

Eric. G. Millar, English Illuminated Manuscripts of the XIVth and XVth Century (Paris: Van Oest, 1928), p. 87.

A Guide to the Exhibition of Some Part of the Egerton Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1929), no. 55.

Margaret Rickert, 'Illumination', in The Text of the Canterbury Tales Studied on the Basis of All Known Manuscripts, ed. by John M. Manly and Edith Rickert, vol. 1, 'Description of the Manuscripts' (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940), pp. 561-605 (p. 566).

Sven L. Fristedt, The Wycliffe Bible, 2 vols (Stockhom: Almquist & Wiksell, 1953-1969), Part I: The Principal Problems Connected with Forshall and Madden's Edition, Stockholm Studies in English, 4, p. 15.

B. L. Ullman, ‘Manuscripts of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester’, in Studies in the Italian Renaissance, Storia e letteratura, 51 (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e letteratura, 1955), pp. 345-355 (first publ. in English Historical Review , 52 (1937), 670-672 (p. 354, no. 16).

Sven L. Fristedt, 'A Weird Manuscript Enigma in the British Museum', Studier I modern sprakvetenskap, Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, Stockholm Stuidies in Modern Philology, New Series, 2 (1964), 116-121.

Sven L. Fristedt, 'New Light on John Wycliffe and the First Full English Bible', Studies in Modern Philology (1967), 61-86 (p. 84).

Sven L. Fristedt, The Wycliffe Bible, 2 vols (Stockhom: Almquist & Wiksell, 1953-1969, Part II: The Origin of the First Revision as presented in De Salutaribus Documentis, Stockholm Studies in English, 21, p. LVI.

Henry Hargreaves, 'The Vernacular Scriptures: The Wycliffite Versions', in The Cambridge History of the Bible, 2 vols, ed. by G. W. H. Lampe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), II: The West from the Fathers to the Reformation, 387-415 (pp. 388, 393, 399).

A. I. Doyle, 'English Books In and Out of Court from Edward III to Henry VII', in English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages, ed. by V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne (London: Duckworth, 1983), pp. 163-82 (p. 168).

V. J. Scattergood, ‘Literary Culture at the Court of Richard II, in English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages, ed. by V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne (London: Duckworth, 1983), pp. 29-43 (p. 35).

Lucy Freeman Sandler, Gothic Manuscripts 1285-1385, 2 vols, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 5 (London: Harvey Miller, 1986), I, 36; II, 164-65.

Lynda Dennison, 'Oxford, Exeter College MS 47: The Importance of Stylistic and Codicological Analysis in its Dating and Localization' in Medieval Book Production: Assessing the Evidence, ed. by Linda L. Brownrigg, Proceedings of the Second Conference of The Seminar in the History of the Book to 1500, Oxford, July 1998 (Los Altos Hills, California: Anderson-Lovelace, 1990), pp. 41-59 (p. 59 n. 44).

Christopher de Hamel, The Book: A History of the Bible (London: Phaidon, 2001), pp. 173-74.

Michelle P. Brown, Painted Labyrinth: The world of the Lindisfarne Gospels (London: British Library, 2003), p. 46.

Maidie Hilmo, Medieval Images, Icons, and IIlustrated English Literary Texts: From the Ruthwell Cross to the Ellesmere Chaucer (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 128 n. 108, 161.

Anthony Tuck, ‘Thomas, Duke of Gloucester (1355-1397)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), [, accessed 13 Jan 2006].

The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York Public Library, ed. by Jonathan J. G. Alexander, James H. Marrow, and Lucy Freeman Sandler (London: Harvey Miller, 2005), p. 82 [exhibition catalogue].

Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (London: British Library, 2007), p. 139, fig. 126.

* * *
Illuminated initial and border

f. 2
Illuminated initial and border
Text page

f. 100
Text page
Illuminated initial

f. 164v
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initial

ff. 164v-165
Illuminated initial
Illuminated initials

f. 165
Illuminated initials
Illuminated initial

f. 185
Illuminated initial

f. 198

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