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Detailed record for Harley 2332

Title Almanac with an astrological miscellany
Origin England
Date 1st quarter of the 15th century (before 1412)
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration 12 calendar pages, one opening for each month, with tinted drawings of the labours of the months and the signs of the zodiac, and various pictures and emblems representing saints' days and other feasts (ff. 1v-2, 2v-3, 3v-4, 4v-5, 5v-6, 6v-7, 7v-8, 8v-9, 9v-10, 10v-11, 11v-12, 12v-13). Easter table (13v-14). Tables of solar and lunar eclipes with symbols in colours and gold (ff. 14v-15, 15v-16, 16v-17). Circular diagram with symbols of the zodiac (f. 17v). Tinted drawing of zodiac man (f. 18). Various tables with coloured symbols, including a table of significant events, of English kings, and of weights and measures (ff. 20v, 21, 21v). A coloured volvelle with the planets and days of the months used to predict the most auspicious days for medical treatments (f. 23v). Some letters in red or gold.
Dimensions in mm 140 x 100 (105 x 75)
Official foliation ff. 24 ( + 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning + 1 unfoliated leaf after f. 22 + 1 unfoliated parchment and 3 paper flyleaves at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house; marbled endpapers.
Provenance John Covel (b. 1638, d. 1722), chaplain of the Levant Company in Constantinople 1670-1676: a note in his hand (f. 1) (see Wright 1972); sold, together with Covel's other manuscripts, to Edward Harley for £300 on 27 Feb. 1715/6 (Diary 1966; Wright 1972).
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 Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts.
'On fol. 20v are coloured drawings representing events in the past, dated backwards from the date of writing. Thus, [an image of] the Nativity is marked '1412 years ago', the murder of Edward II in 1327 '84 [years ago]' (Watson, 1979).
English saints in the calendar include Chad, Cuthbert (x 2), Dunstan, Guthlac, John of Beverley, Oswald, Swithin, William of York, Wilfrid, and others.
A tinted drawing of a saint on f. 7v has been deliberately effaced.
Text in English f. 22-22v: 'The Statwete of Wenchester, touching the Syse of bred, of what Grayn of Corne so ever that it be' ( A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2332.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2332.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Illustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 12.

Rossel Hope Robbins, ‘English Almanacks of the Fifteenth Century’, Philological Quarterly, 18, 4 (1939), 321-31 (p. 232, n. 13).

Loren MacKinney and Thomas Herndon, Medical Illustrations in Medieval Manuscripts, Wellcome Historical Medical Library, New Series, 5 (London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1965), no. 86.42.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril E. Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, pp. xxxiv-xxxvi; II: 1723-1726, p. 211 n. 1

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. 113-17.

Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700-1600 in The Department of Manuscripts: The British Library, 2 vols (London: British Library, 1979), no. 647.

John B. Friedman, Northern English Books, Owners, and Makers in the Late Middle Ages (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1995), p. 245.

John B. Friedman, 'Harry the Haywarde and Talbat his Dog: an illustrated girdlebook from Worcestershire', in Carol Garrett Fisher & Kathleen L. Scott (eds.), Art Into Life: Collected Papers from the Kresge Art Museum Medieval Symposia (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1995), pp. 115-53 (pp. 132-35).

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, p. 363.

Catalogued for the Harley Medical Manuscripts Project [http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/manuscripts/INDEX.asp], accessed 29 May 2008.

Pamela Robinson, 'A 'very curious Almanack': the gift of Sir Robert Moray FRS, 1668', Notes & Records of the Royal Society, 62 (2008), 301-14 (p. 309).


Images
* * *
 
February

ff. 2v-3
February
March

f. 3v
March
March

f. 4
March
 
April

ff. 4v-5
April
April

f. 5v
April
Diagram with the symbols of the zodiac

f. 17v
Diagram with the symbols of the zodiac
 
Zodiac Man

f. 18
Zodiac Man
Table with tinted drawings

f. 19v
Table with tinted drawings
Table with tinted drawings

f. 20
Table with tinted drawings
 
Table of significant events

f. 20v
Table of significant events
Table of English kings

f. 21
Table of English kings
Table of weights and measures

f. 21v
Table of weights and measures
 

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