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Detailed record for Harley 1245

Author Giovanni Boccaccio, translation by John Lydgate based on a translation by Laurent de Premierfait
Title The Fall of Princes, Books 1-9, imperfect (ff. 1-182v), preceded by a table of contents (f. 1* verso), and followed by Lydgate's 'Defence of Holy Church', imperfect (ff. 182v-183)
Origin England
Date 3rd quarter of the 15th century
Language English
Script Gothic cursive (Secretary), in two columns
Decoration Full border and initial with foliate decoration in gold and colours (f. 1). Initials in blue with penwork decoration in red. Rubrics in red. Paraphs in red and blue. Cadels in ink in the upper and lower margins of leaves.
Dimensions in mm 380 x 270 (250/260 x 200/205)
Official foliation ff. 1* + 183 (f. 1* is an original parchment flyleaf; + 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 3 at the end).
Collation Gatherings mostly of 12, with outer and inner bifolia in parchment and other leaves on paper, with horizontal catchword in the lower margin of the last verso of gatherings, and traces of quire signatures in the lower margins of rectos in the first half of gatherings. First three gatherings imperfect.
Form Parchment and paper codex.
Binding BM/BL in-house, 19th century.
Provenance Receipts dated to the 30th year of reign of Henry VIII (1539-40; f. 182v), the beginning of the Nicene and part of the Apostle's Creed in Latin (f. 183v), and marginal notabilia added by 16th- and 17-century hands.
? Henry Gale, 16th century: his inscriptions 'Henry Gale' (ff. 153, 154; see Wright 1972).
Francis Harington, 17th century: his inscription 'Franciscus Harington est verus possessor huius liber' (f. 1; see Wright 1972).
Thomas Baker (b. 1656, d. 1740), nonjuring Church of England clergyman and antiquary (deprived of his fellowship at St John's, Cambridge in 1717): his ownership inscription 'Thomas Baker' (f. 140; 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.
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 Lydgate's translation c. 1431-38.
The beginning of the Nicene and part of the Apostle's Creed in Latin scribbled on f. 183v.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I, no. 1245.

Henry Noble McCracken, The Lydgate Canon. Appendix to the Philological Society's Transactions 1907-1909 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner for the Philological Society, 1908), pp. iii-xlvi (pp. xii, xiv).

Lydgate's Fall of Princes, ed. by Henry Bergen, 4 vols, Early English Text Society, 121-24 (London: Early English Text Society, 1924-1927), I, p. xxiii; IV, p. 15 (as 'H').

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. 60, 159, 179, 393.


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Illuminated border and initial

f. 1
Illuminated border and initial

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