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Detailed record for Harley 2485

Author Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Title Tragoediae
Origin Ferrara, Italy
Date 1460
Language Latin
Script Humanistic
Scribe John Gunthorpe
Decoration Originally 8 decorated initials: 6 have been excised (ff. 22, 40, 51, 91, 111, 147). The two remaining decorated initials in blue, magenta, and green with floral sprays and bezants (ff. 130, 163). Initials in red or blue at the beginning of each scene. Paraphs.
Dimensions in mm 290 x 210 (185 x 110)
Official foliation ff. 1* + 197 (+ 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end; ff. i and iv are medieval parchment flyleaves)
Collation i-xix10 (ff. 1-189), xx10-1 (ff. 190-198, 10th leaf excised, probably blank)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1955.
Provenance John Gunthorpe (d. 1498), dean of Wells and administrator: Latin colophon stating he completed the book on 30, August 1460 in Ferrara whilst studying poetry and Seneca's tragedies and attending Guarino de Verona's rhetoric lectures; his marginal notations (f. 197).
Suicardus ab Holdingen: inscribed, late 16th century-early 17th century 'Ex libris Suicardus ab Holdingen 8617' (f.1). (The Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg has a number of manuscripts and incunabula inscribed by Suicardus ab Holdingen.)
The Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter, Austria: inscribed, 17th century 'Ex libris Monasterii St. Petri Salisburgi' (f. 1).
Nathaniel Noel (fl. 1681, d. c. 1753), bookseller: employed by Edward Harley for buying books and manuscripts chiefly on the Continent (including this one) (see 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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley ‘18 die January, A.D. 1723/4’ (f. iv).
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 Written by Gunthrope while he was in Ferrara attending Guarino da Verona's rhetoric lectures. Contains extensive marginal notations by Gunthorpe.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2485.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by C. E. Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), II: 1723-1726, p. 234 n. 7.

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. 174, 253-54, 296, 322.

Cyril Ernest Wright, 'Manuscripts of Italian Provenance in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum: Their Sources, Associations and Channels of Acquisition', in Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance. Essays in Honour of Paul Oskar Kristeller, ed. by C. H. Clough (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1976), pp. 462-84 (p. 474).

Paul Oskar Kristeller, Iter Italicum: Accedunt Alia Itinera: A Finding List of Uncatalogued or Incompletely Catalogued Humanistic Manuscripts of the Renaissance in Italian and other Libraries 7 vols (London: Warburg Institute; Leiden: Brill, 1963-1997), IV (1989), p. 159.


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