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Detailed record for Harley 2517

Author Boethius
Title De Consolatione Philosophiae
Origin Italy, Central (?Florence)
Date Last quarter of the 14th century or 1st quarter of the 15th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Scribe Franciscus (colophon on f. 55v)
Decoration Large initial in gold and colours with acanthus leaves and naturalistic flowers extending into the margins at the beginning of book 1 (f. 1). A very large puzzle initial in red and blue with pen-flourishing in the same colours at the beginning of each subsequent book (ff. 9v, 20v, 35, 47). Numerous smaller initials in blue with red pen-flourishing or in red with brown pen-flourishing. Display script with penwork decoration used for the 1st words of each book (ff. 1. 9v, 20v, 35, 47). Capitals marked with yellow.
Dimensions in mm 255 x 175 (160 x 120)
Official foliation ff. 55 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 3 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Binding of brown mottled calf with gold fillets and blind tooling.
Provenance Written by Franciscus: inscribed colophon 'Explicit Liber Boetii De phylosofica Consolatione Deo gratias Amen Qui scripsit Scribat Semper Cum domino Vivat. Vivat in celis Franciscus Nomine felix. Amen' (f. 55v).
John Gibson (fl. 1720-1726), dealer; acquired from him for the Harley collection on 17 June 1721 (see Diary 1966).
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 ‘17 die Junij, A.D. 1721’ (f. 1).
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Notes According to unpublished notes of A. C. de la Mare at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, this manuscript was made in Florence in the late 14th or early 15th century.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2517.

Barnet Kottler, 'II. The Vulgate Tradition of the Consolatio Philosophiae in the Fourteenth Century', Mediaeval Studies, 17 (1955), 209-214 (p. 210 n. 2).

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 113 n. 12.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 162.

Codices Boethiani : A Conspectus of Manuscripts of the Works of Boethius ed. by M. T. Gibson and Lesley Smith, Warburg Institute Surveys and Texts 25 (London: Warburg Institute, 1995- ), I: Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, no. 115, pp. 137-38.


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Decorated initial

f. 1
Decorated initial

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