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Detailed record for Harley 1688

Title Psalter, including material for determining hours of daylight, a calendar, Canticles and hymns, and creed (ff. 139v-141v), litany and prayers
Origin England (S., Norwich?)
Date 14th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration Large initial with partial border in colours and gold, at the beginning of Psalm 1 (f. 8). Large puzzle intial in red and blue with red and blue penwork decoration extending to form a partial margin and including dragons, leaves, and faces, at the beginning of Psalms 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97 (ff. 26, 39v, 52v, 65, 80, 93v). Large initials in blue with red penwork decoration and pen-flourishing or in red with blue penwork decoration and pen-flourishing, including in the form of leaves or faces. Small initials in red or blue. Small initials in brown with penwork decoration. Paraphs in blue or red.
Dimensions in mm 225 x 150 (180 x 115)
Official foliation ff. 159 + 1*-3* ( + 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 4 at the end + an unfoliated parchment former pastedown at the beginning + an unfoliated parchment leaf after f. 3* and 2 after f. 109)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1965.
Provenance The hospital of St Giles, Norwich: the calendar includes the dedication of the parish church of Norwich and the obit of Hugh Actor of the hospital (d. 1464).
The Derham and Crimplesham (Crumpilsham) families: added 15th-century notes in Latin and English of births and deaths of members of the family in the calendar, e.g., 'The birth of Baudewyn son of T. Derham, and Jane his wif, the yer of our lorde God I mill cccc lxxij, and ye xiij yer of ye Reign of king Edward iiij' (March); 'Thomas, the son of Thomas of Crimplesham, the son of Thomas of Derham, & Jane his wif, wer weddid' (February), and a sketch of four heraldic arms (f. 4v) similar to those over the aisle arcades in the chapel.
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 Musical notation on four-line red staves, in the office for Catherine (ff. 108-109).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 1688.

Christopher Wordsworth and Henry Littlehales, The Old Service-Books of the English Church, 2nd edn (London: Methuen & Co., 1910), p. 58.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books ed. by N. R. Ker, Supplement to the Second Edition, ed. by Andrew G. Watson, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 15 (London: The Royal Historical Society, 1987), p. 51.

* * *
Illuminated initial

f. 8
Illuminated initial
Decorated initial

f. 26
Decorated initial
Christ in a star

f. 110
Christ in a star

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