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Detailed record for Harley 2690

Author Marcus Tullius Cicero
Title De amicitia
Origin Italy, N. (?Padua) or Central (?Rome)
Date Last quarter of the 15th century
Language Latin
Script Humanistic
Scribe Bartolomeo Sanvito (as rubricator)
Decoration Full border in colours and gold with candelabras, a snail, a dolphin, birds, putti including two supporting a cardinal's unidentified coat of arms (f. 1). Display script and rubrics in blue, pink or gold.
Dimensions in mm 120 x 85 (75 x 50)
Official foliation ff. i + 1*-2* + 65 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning + 1 unfoliated leaf after f. 65 + 4 paper flyleaves at the end)
Collation Mainly in quires of 8.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Gilt edges.
Provenance Unidentified cardinal, 15th century: defaced unidentified arms surmounted by a cardinal's hat (f. 1).
Added pen-trials and inscriptions, post medieval (ff. 1*v-2*v, 65v).
Erased ?ownership inscription (f. 65).
Pesinus Vincentius, 1692: inscribed 'Pesinus Vincentius huius libelli Possessor si librum furabitur istum severe puniet [...] 1692' (f. 65).
?Charles Spencer (b. 1674, d. 1722), 3rd earl of Sunderland from 1702, bibliophile, developed the library at Althorp, one of Edward Harley's keenest rivals in the acquisition of early printed books and manuscripts: inscribed 'SUND.' in Humfrey Wanley's hand (librarian to Robert and, later, Edward Harley), indicating perhaps acquisition from Sunderland's library (f. 1* v).
J. Astley, 17th century: inscribed 'J. Astley: Napoli' (f. 2*).
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 'Oxford B. H.' (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Notes Rubrication in coloured epigraphic capitals (f. 1) attributable to Bartolomeo Sanvito, according to unpublished notes of A. C. de la Mare at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Leaf signatures. Catchwords.
ff. 1*, 2*, 65 and [65a] are parchment flyleaves (ff. 1* and [65a] are former pastedowns).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2690.

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. 54, 310, 338.

Alfred Fairbank, 'More of San Vito', in Journal of the Society for Italic Handwriting, 42 (1965), 7-12 [pl. 2].

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. 477-78).

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Decorated border

f. 1
Decorated border

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