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2002 articles 1987 articles

Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from the library of Sir Sydney Cockerell

Christopher de Hamel

Abstract

I THINK that the first article by Derek Turner that I ever read was his list of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts which had belonged to Eric Millar (1887-1966) in an offprint from The British Museum Quarterly sent to me by Mrs June O'Donnell. I read it through and through, bewitched by my first view of a world in which a reputable manuscript curator was also a connoisseur who bought and possessed his own illuminated manuscripts. It revealed to me real manuscripts still out of captivity and gave a glimpse of the obsessive excitement of quests in pursuit of them. At the time of his death, Derek Turner had in draft a similar list of manuscripts which had belonged to Henry Yates Thompson (1839-1928). I have attempted here to record the medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from the private collection of the third great English connoisseur. Sir Sydney Cockerell (1867-1962), friend and adviser to both Millar and Yates Thompson, and the man who led several generations of manuscript enthusiasts in a kind of bibliophily that was peculiarly English. Eric Millar himself wrote that it was to be regretted that no catalogue of Cockerell's own manuscripts existed, and this article is a first attempt to fill that gap.

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