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Detailed record for Harley 2489

Author Ovid
Title Metamorphoses with commentary (ff. 1-201); Fasti (ff. 203-285)
Origin Germany
Date 3rd quarter of the 15th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic, with gloss in Gothic cursive
Scribe Bartholomeus Fuscus presbiter (colophon on f. 201)
Decoration Large initial in pink and brown ink with acanthus leaves and a hybrid dragon (f. 1). Large initial in pale colours with acanthus leaves extending into the margin, with flowers and 2 peacocks (f. 14). Initials in blue on a pink ground or pink on a blue ground (ff. 28v, 40v, 54, 65v, 77v, 92, 106v, 120, 132v, 145v, 156, 172v, 186v, 203, 215) occasionally foliate decoration, flowers and hybrid creature (f. 40v), a jester's head (f. 92), a fish (77v), a lion, a lady with pointed headdress and an animal head holding a coat of arms with a lion (f. 120), a face in profile and a hybrid face (f. 172v), a coat of arms with Christ's 5 wounds (f. 203). Smaller initials in pink on blue ground towards the end of the book (ff. 229, 244, 260, 272). 'KL' initials in red with reserved designs (f. 202r-v). Capitals marked with red ink.
Dimensions in mm 290 x 215 (185 x 75)
Official foliation ff. i + 258 + ii (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning + 2 unfoliated ruled leaves after f. 201 and 1 after f. 258 + 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the end)
Collation Mainly in quires of 12.
Form Paper codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1986.
Provenance Written by Bartholomeus Fuscus, presbiter: inscribed colophon 'Vis sex millenos versus in codice scriptos sed ter quinque minus continet ovidius Sis lector certus quod dextera bartholomei Fusci me scripsit presbiter isque fuit' (f. 201).
Erased ?ownership inscription in the margin (f. 1).
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 This manuscript was made in 3rd quarter of the 15th century, possibly in Germany, according to unpublished notes of A. C. de la Mare at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Watermark of a letter 'y' visible on f. [201b] is extremely close to C. M. Briquet, Les Filigranes: Dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur apparition vers 1282 jusqu'en 1600, A Facsimile of the 1907 edition with supplementary material, ed. by Allan Stevenson, 4 vols (Amsterdam: Paper Publications Society, 1968), no. 9183 (dated 1472 to Brittany) and 9184 (dated 1483 to Neubourg, in the North East of France).
Another watermark, of an ox head is visible on f. ii (unruled flyleaf), which is close to Briquet no. 14237 (dated 1474 to Namur, in present-day Belgium).
The script and decoration point to Germany, however, Briquet notes that the 'y' watermark is a typically North-Eastern French watermark, so the paper may have been imported from there (see Briquet 1968, II: Text, p. 486).
Ovid's Fasti (ff. 203-285) also seems to have been written by Bartholomeus Fuscus.
Including marginal gloss.
Including an incomplete Roman calendar with Roman Gods/festivals (January-June; f. 202r-v).
Leaf signatures. Catchwords.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2489.

Franco Munari, Catalogue of the Manuscripts of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Supplement 4 (London: University of London Institute of Classical Studies; Warburg Institute, 1957), no. 163.

E. H. Alton, D. E. W. Wormell, E. Courtney, 'A Catalogue of the Manuscripts of Ovid's Fasti', London University Institute of Classical Studies Bulletin 24 (1977), 37-63 (p. 47).

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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Decorated initial

f. 120
Decorated initial

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