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Detailed record for Harley 6561

Author Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples, translated by George Boleyn
Title Epistres et Evangiles des cinquante et deux sepmaines de l'an, readings from the Gospels and Epistles , translated for Anne Boleyn by her brother George
Origin England
Date 1st half of the 16th century (before 1533)
Language English, French
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration A full-page miniature of the Crucifixion, featuring the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene in colours, with a full architectural border featuring sculptures of St Peter and St Paul in the inner and outer borders and a cherub in the lower margin in gold, and the coat of arms of Anne Boleyn and subsidiary medallions of the four evangelists in colours (f. 3v). A full architectural border in gold with three roundels in colours: one features the coat of arms of Anne Boleyn, the other two are heavily damaged, but probably featured the monogram ‘HENREXSL’ [probably for ‘HENricus REX, Sovereign Lord’] and the initials ‘A. P.’ [Anne Pembroke] that can be found in initials throughout this manuscript (f. 3). A full architectural border with a cherub in the lower margin in gold (f. 4). The coat of arms of Anne Boleyn with a crown in colours and gold in a gold frame with a background in purple, gold and grey, featuring the monogram 'HENREXSL' in gold [x4] (f. 3). 1 large (6-line) violet initial with acanthus motifs featuring the arms of Anne Boleyn with a crown in colours and gold in a gold frame with a grey ground (f. 4). Numerous small (3-line) initials in white, blue, gold or violet, on grey grounds, alternately featuring the arms of Anne Boleyn, the monogram ‘HENREXSL’, and the initials 'A. P.'. Numerous small (1-line) initials in gold on red grounds. Rubrics and running headers in blue. The leaf from a 14th-century English liturgical manucsript (ff. 203-20rv) featues small (2-line) blue initials with red penwork decoration and rubrics in red.
Dimensions in mm 190 x 120 (135 x 85)
Official foliation ff. 11* + 12* + 203 (+ 3 unfoliated parchment flyleaves and 1 unfoliated paper flyleaf at the beginning and 2 unfoliated parchment flyleaves at the end).
Collation Generally gatherings of 8.
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post 1600. Red leather with gold tooling; gilt edges.
Provenance Anne Boleyn (b. c. 1500, d. 1536), queen of England, 2nd consort of Henry VIII: the introduction on ff. 2-2v indicates that the manuscripts was made for her after she was created Marquess of Pembroke (1 September 1532) and before she was recognised as queen (March 1533); probably a New Year's Gift to her, composed and produced in 1532 by her brother George Boleyn, who refers to himself as her brother in a rubric [badly damaged, but legible with UV light] on f. 2: ‘To the ryght honorable ladye, the Ladye Marchionesse of Pembrooke, her moost lovyng and fryndely brother sendeth gretyng’; a monogram containing the letters of his name ‘George Boleyn’ also features on f. 1v [upside down] (see Carley ‘Anne Boleyn's Manuscripts’ (1998), pp. 261-62, 68); her arms of Brotherton, gules, 3 lions passant guardant or, a label argent; Warenne chequy or and argent (arms of the earls of Surrey); Ormonde, or, a chief indented azure; Rochford argent, a lion rampant sable, crowned gules (ff. 2, 3, 3v, 4, 5v, 10, 12, 12*, 15, 17, 21v, 23v, 26, 32v, 34, 38v, 41, 42, 43v, 45, 48, 51, 66v, 73, 79v, 83, 88v, 90, 91v, 93, 99, 106, 112, 114, 117v, 119, 121v, 125v, 128v, 131, 132v, 138, 145v, 147, 151v, 153v, 159v, 161, 163, 165, 171v, 173v, 185v, 187v, 197v, 199, 201) and the initials ‘A. P.’ [Anne Pembroke] throughout the manuscript (see Wright, Fontes Harleiani (1972), p. 75).

‘J. M. S’ [possibly John Murray of Sacombe], owned the manuscript in the 17th century: these initials inscribed on f. [iii]verso (not listed under his entry in Wright, Fontes Harleiani (1972), p. 291).

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 Fifty-two readings from the Epistles and the Gospels, one for each Sunday in the year. The Gospels are in French, the expositions, in English. According to Carley, the commentary text was translated from French into English by George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, for his sister Anne (Carley 2004, p. 129).
The decoration of Harley 6561 is similar to that of Alnwick Castle, MS Percy 465, and both manuscripts were written by the same scribe (Carley 2000, p. lvii).
Ruled in red.
Added leaf from a late fourteenth-century English liturgical manuscript with blue initials with red pen-flourishing; it has been folded to match the dimensions of the present manuscript (f. 203).
Anne Boleyn's arms: Brotherton, gules, 3 lions passant guardant or, a label argent; Warenne chequy or and argent (arms of the Earls of Surrey); Ormonde, or, a chief indented azure; Rochford argent, a lion rampant sable, crowned gules.
For another manuscript made for Anne Boleyn, see Harley 303.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 6561.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 75.

James P. Carley, 'Her moost lovyng and fryndely brother sendeth gretyng': Anne Boleyn's Manuscripts and their Sources', in Illuminating the Book: Makers and Interpreters, ed. by Michelle P. Brown and Scot McKendrick (London: British Library, 1998), pp. 261-80 (pp. 261-67, 271).

James P. Carley, The Libraries of King Henry VIII (London: British Library, 2000), p. lvii.

James P. Carley, The Books of King Henry VIII and His Wives (London: British Library, 2004), pp. 125-26, pls 113, 121.

Henry VIII: Man and Monarch, ed. by Susan Doran (London: British Library, 2009), no. 144 [exhibition catalogue].


Images
* * *
 
Crucifixion

f. 3
Crucifixion
Crucifixion and arms of Anne Boleyn

ff. 3v-4
Crucifixion and arms of Anne Boleyn
Reading for the fourth Sunday after Easter

f. 98v
Reading for the fourth Sunday after Easter
 
Reading for the third and fourth Sunday after Easter

f. 99
Reading for the third and fourth Sunday after Easter

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